February 3, 2010
In the New York Times Opinion section MS. Arieff tells the story of a project from UC Berkeley architecture students and assistant professor De Monchaux that would allow unused city space to be made greener reducing heat island effects. This is a very significant concept.
Using G.I.S. in conjunction with parametric design tools, Local Code suggests a set of individual landscapes for each site with the goal of mitigating larger urban performance variables like storm-water retention and heat-island effects — referring to the 1.8 to 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit temperature increase that occurs within densely built environments. (De Monchaux suggests that his intervention would most likely render redundant San Francisco’s current multi-billion dollar effort at increasing sewer storm-water capacity). Together, the aggregated sites project an alternative green infrastructure with potentially measurable benefits to safety and public health as well.
“Local Code (video here) proposes a systemic re-greening of leftover pavement space on a large scale. Culled from a database maintained by the Department of Public Works, the many sites for Local Code have been deemed “unaccepted streets,” that is, sites in the San Francisco grid that occupy the position of streets but are not maintained by the municipality, or necessarily even passable to traffic. Seen separately and individually, these are litter-filled, residual spaces — and there are 1,625 of them, mostly around highways and industrial sites. But seen as a whole, they have a combined surface area of more than half of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, for example”