If the Urban Land Institute’s predictions are correct, 80% of our current building stock will still be in use in the year 2050, and as population trends continue to shift to city-living it’s more imperative then ever to cultivate thriving urban centers. Living City Block (LCB) hopes to lead the way in restoring our urban cores, one block at a time. By fostering inner-city rejuvenations that create resilient, prosperous and healthy neighborhoods, LCB hopes to spark similar movements in surrounding areas, thereby strengthening the entire urban fabric over time.
LCB’s pilot project in the Lower Downtown (Lo Do) district of Denver is nearing its first year anniversary. In its inaugural year, the Lo Do project worked primarily towards curbing the environmental impact of the neighborhood and creating a more sustainable community. Current projections hope to slash the aggregate energy usage of the entire block in half by the summer of 2012. Continued improvements aim to further reduce energy by 75% in the following two years; with the goal of attaining net zero energy usage in two historic buildings by 2016.
Of course, improved energy efficiency doesn’t directly equate to bolstered urban cores, so how exactly does the LCB intend to reach its lofty goals? The LCB will bring together a core team of experts to work together with building owners and city leaders in three primary areas: economy, ecology, and people. Leading by example, the LCB is showcasing the financing options and economic benefits of deep energy retrofits. Through that same approach, the LCB is focusing all economic development on job creation while cultivating livable, desirable blocks.
While the ultimate goal is creating a restorative force in cities that encourages resource efficient, sustainable growth; the program also hopes to create a replicable, exportable, scalable and economically viable framework to be implemented in cities across the country. In light of this, the Living City Block program will soon be expanding to Washington DC’s 14th and U neighborhood as well as Brooklyn’s Gowanus neighborhood.
Learn more about the Living City Block program and its sister neighborhoods here: http://www.livingcityblock.org/