If you're looking for some light Friday afternoon reading, The Atlantic has a fascinating, pic-heavy article about the Dockside Green development project in Victoria, BC—what could arguably be called "The World's Greenest Neighborhood." Dockside Green is a former industrial site currently being developed into a 26-building mixed-use community that will eventually house 2,500 residents (including low-income families). The project, which is far from complete, has already earned scores of accolades, including LEED platinum ratings for green building development—in one case "setting a new world record for the highest LEED building score ever achieved."
But that's not all:
Dockside Green is host to a biomass gasification plant that, along with additional renewable energy technology including on-building windmills and solar panels, enables the development to be carbon-neutral. Each residential unit has a real-time meter showing energy and hot water usage along with associated carbon emissions, which can be easily compared with the development as a whole or the unit's history.
It's rare to see a dense urban neighborhood being deliberately built from the ground up in this way, instead of being the product of patchworked history. (Even though Seattle's Yesler Terrace rebuild isn't comparable, YT generates the same sort of excitement, in my opinion).
The article's pictures and design sketches are lovely but I especially appreciate author Kaid Benfield's breakdown of how the project succeeds—and fails—as a neighborhood. "Dockside Green certainly isn't yet the kind of complete, mature, multi-generational neighborhood highlighted by Scott Doyon's "popsicle test" (can an eight-year-old go get a popsicle on her own and return home safely before it melts)," he writes. "Now, there is a sense of isolation, in that it feels much more walkable internally than externally..." The article is definitely worth a read.