Automobile Dependence, Break The Habit

8 08 2007

Urban Core International BlogIn keeping with this week’s transportation theme, we’ve spent a lot of time discussing automobile dependence and ways to break the habit. Many people own a car or truck because of convenience, but none of us like the side effects – traffic, increased travel time, increased emissions, and smog. In today’s post we analyzed a few of the ways to reduce automobile dependence. Note that not every idea works in every situation, but certainly a combination of ideas can help us all in someway.

Automobile dependence is a result of the segmentation of residential, commercial and industrial zoning. Naturally, one way to fight that is to change zoning laws and traditional methods of planning. Two types of development / land plans that come to our minds are the TND (Traditional Neighborhood Development) and the TOD (Transit Oriented Development.)

 

TNDs are specifically designed to be compact, pedestrian-oriented developments. The neighborhoods are internally oriented, which helpsCut from a New Town support the local commercial industry, lessening the need to leave the community and hence lessening the need to get back in the car. There are many aspects of the TND that help to reduce automobile dependence. Firstly, traffic signals are set to shorter intervals. This creates more frequent gaps in traffic for mid-block pedestrian crossing. The density of a TND and the close proximity between zoning types also makes the neighborhood more walkable. One interesting design technique used in TNDs is the reduction of the curb radii. This helps to make cars slow down more when turning, but has the added bonus of shortening the amount of time a pedestrian has to spend in the street in order to cross over.

FruitVale VillageTODs share similar benefits to TNDs using similar design strategies, but base their neighborhoods on public transportation such as a trainBART system. Some similarities include pedestrian friendly, walkable design, high-density development, and of course the integration of various zoning types. These “Transit Villages” focus on the train system to reduce automobile dependency as much as possible. Some of the most interesting transit oriented development can be seen in California, where the Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) has been instrumental in partnering with developers to create smart, well designed TODs. Personally, we were impressed by FruitVale Village, a mixed use TOD featuring several hundred thousand square feet of retail, office space, and affordable rental apartments all centered around the BART train station. The great zoning mix give residents easy, pedestrian access to shops and businesses in an area once described as having a shortage of friendly streets.

Some might wonder, what can we do in already built out areas that don’t have the room for redevelopment? Are there options available besides creating new developments? The answer of course is yes.

One creative solution, which is actually a design credit in the LEED rating system for sustainable developments, is to incorporate bicycle racks and showering / changing facilities on the ground floor of buildings. The bicycle racks make people feel more secure leaving their bicycle unattended, which in turn makes them feel more comfortable riding a bicycle around.

ZipcarWhat about those who need a motor vehicle? One interesting solution we saw is Zipcar, a company that will rent you a car by the hour or day. They feature cool cars like the Mini and VW Jetta, and include all gas, insurance and designated parking spots in their price. Members of Zipcar are provided with a Zipcard, which when placed near the door of the car will unlock the car. From there you simply start the car, go where you need to, and return the car to the designated parking spot when you’re done. This type of business makes car ownership hassle free, and reduces the need for owning a car alone.

All of the solutions discussed in this entry are viable in different communities and for different people. We all know the side effects of automobile dependency, and most of us only have to spend about five minutes in traffic before we start wishing there was another way. With so many viable solutions around, the only step left is to find the one that’s right for you and make the change. Like they say, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and reducing automobile dependency is certainly no exception to that rule.

Co- Authors: Josef Newman + Aaron Newman, Urban Core International





Paises que dan paso al frente

12 06 2007

Al presente, en Panama existe el desarrollo del primer edificio verde en ofrecer la integracion de los principal expuestos por el programa LEED.

La estructura ubicara a unas cuadras de la Avenida Balboa y el Parque Urraca.
Josef Newman, socio de la firma constructura de dicho proyecto, al momento de inaugurarlo, dijo que “en
soluciones innovadoras a los complejos problemas de infraestructura y las complicaciones que se puedan
en el futuro, es una necesidad cuando se esta desarrollando un proyecto.

Las practicas de Construccion d Verdes ayudaran a la Ciudad de Panama a incrementar su crecimiento y a estar a la altura de paises del mundo”. Espana posee ya su Consejo de Construccion Verde, institucion sin fines de lucro que promueve el desarro edificios rentables y sostenibles en la industria de la construccion. El mismo se rige incluso por la certifica En partes de prensa, el presidente del Consejo, Aurelio Ramirez, senalo que la edificacion sostenible es absolutamente rentable, pues “en diez anos, solo en ahorro de energia se cubren los costos que se invirtie

La edificacion sostenible es un proceso “multiescalar”, segun Ramirez, ya que comienza en la construccion
edificio en un barrio, se extiende a la ciudad, al ambito regional y al estatal. En este proceso se produce “una cooperacion e integracion entre el sector publico y el privado, se foment innovacion, ademas de contribuir a cumplir con (el protocolo de) Kioto”, puntualizo Ramirez.

El Presidente del Consejo de Construccion Verde de Espana cito como ejemplo de emplazamiento sosten
ciudad olimpica de Sydney. En esta se ha recuperado un vertedero industrial que se ha destinado a la con
de viviendas ecologicas y espacios verdes y de recreo. El proyecto incluye los electrodomesticos eficientes
hogares y el filtrado y limpieza de aguas grises. “En este lugar el ahorro de energia alcanza 50%” en com
con un barrio comun, explico.

Para Torres Diaz, es logico que los profesionales relacionados con la industria deben reunirse para acorda
ciertos modelos de LEED a nuestro clima y realidad geografica, asunto que no impediria el desarrollo del

Urban Core in Adendi (adendi.com) Nuevo Dia





Basis Retains Urban Core as Owner’s Rep

12 06 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Urban Core International, S.A. 011.507.399.9901, info@urbancoreintl.com

June 12, 2007, Panamá City, Panamá: Urban Core International, S.A. announced today that it has been retained by BASIS International to provide owner’s representation and development services for two ocean-front developments in Panamá.

“BASIS has found amazing and unique properties, to which they have a vision to develop in an environmentally sensitive fashion by implementing sustainability and New Urban principles and practices in every aspect of their projects,” said Aaron Newman, Managing Partner for Urban Core International. “We are extremely excited to work with BASIS, a company that shares our vision and unwavering dedication to New Urbanism and green building,” Newman continued.

“We are looking to the future by investing and developing in socially responsible projects throughout Panamá,” said Brian Wagner, CEO of BASIS International. “Our belief is that there is an extremely large market of buyers who would prefer that their next property investment be conscious of social and environmental impacts that will provide significant value to their investment,” Wagner continued.

“Urban Core has the experience and resources to assist us in launching sustainable projects, critical to achieve energy efficiency and to lower operational costs,” said Jonathan Bernstein, Partner and CFO of BASIS International.

About Urban Core:
Urban Core International, S.A. is focused on the development of boutique residential and commercial property in and around Urban Cores. Our mission is two fold; to develop sustainable, quality projects with a focus on strength through design and collaboration, and to provide project owners whom we represent with unparalleled project management services through hard work, collaboration, discipline and attention to detail.

At Urban Core, we believe that a building is more than simply the sum of its parts. It is a well-founded idea, one that has been reviewed from all angles, by all disciplines involved in the project. It is a home, and a part of a larger community that it impacts. Our goal is to make sure our buildings are not only successful projects, but are constructed in a manner that contributes to the community, while meeting the needs of the buildings owners and future occupants. Our work is guided by our values, which enable to ensure a project’s success.

http://www.urbancoreintl.com [Web Site]

https://urbancore.wordpress.com [Blog]

http://podcast.urbancoreintl.com [Podcasts]

About BASIS:
BASIS International brings environmental and social accountability to real estate development. Our mission is to specialize in and offer highly sought-after, profitable investment and property ownership options that leverage the latest “green” technologies to be self-sustainable and to significantly reduce utility costs.

Working with local partners, BASIS brings innovative planning and creativity in designs centering on profit maximization while contributing and distributing benefits widely into local communities — in employment, education, health and business development. This social and profit-driven mandate attracts a broad range of public and private financial partners in a win-win strategy to achieve a unique return on investment (ROI) and social accountability.

Basis Retains Urban Core as Owner’s Rep





Al Gore’s CLIMATE PROJECT

1 05 2007

April 30, 2007, Boca Raton Florida: I recently returned from 3 days in Nashville, training in Session 6 of Al Gore’s CLIMATE PROJECT. We were the final group to participate in a grassroots effort begun by Gore last fall, when he committed to train one-thousand people to give live presentations of the slide show made famous by the Academy Award-winning movie, AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH.
As I counted myself one of a lucky 0.0003% of the population involved in this project, I was inspired by the energy, enthusiasm, experience and intelligence of my group of attendees. Educators, musicians, inventors, investors, scientists, journalists, models, a starting linebacker in the NFL – and of course, the “Former Next President of the United States, Al Gore” – spent time working together, preparing us to deliver fact-based, non-partisan reality and scientific information to communities across the country.

The impact of Gore’s mission is underway – since September, members of The Climate Project have given more presentations to more people than Gore has over the last 15 years. As we continue to expand the program, we are at the forefront of an emerging ”Dot-Green” economy – one which, through conservation and better use of resources, will become our nation’s finest endeavor and will create opportunities at every level of our economy. My give-away message of this experience is enlightening and full of promise:

Once you understand the extent of climate change and its ongoing threat to your current way of life, you become obliged to do something about it. Not necessarily in terms of guilt, but with a keen understanding that everything we use and everything we do has an element of embodied energy that we must reduce, replace or eliminate.

I am busily preparing a 30-minute version of the presentation (it takes Gore 2 hours to go through it!) while adding important information regarding my personal area of focus on Sustainable Structures and Green Buildings. The facts are in, the scientists have spoken (barring the occasional rogue pseudo-scientist bankrolled by the petroleum industry), and the work ahead of us is crystal clear, painfully obvious and overwhelmingly necessary.
* * *
Jeff Conley, AIA, LEED AP is an architect/engineer with experience in award-winning projects worldwide. Five years ago he founded SEQUIL SYSTEMS, INC., a design consultancy that focuses on sustainability in the built environment, with an emphasis on administering the LEED® “green building” program. His work helps multi-story buildings,, laboratories and schools become healthier and less impactful to the environment – and less expensive to operate.

About Urban Core International, S.A.:
Urban Core International, S.A. is focused on the development of boutique residential and commercial property in and around Urban Cores. Our mission is two fold; to develop sustainable, quality projects with a focus on strength through design and collaboration, and to provide project owners whom we represent with unparalleled project management services through hard work, collaboration, discipline and attention to detail.

At Urban Core, we believe that a building is more than simply the sum of its parts. It is a well-founded idea, one that has been reviewed from all angles, by all disciplines involved in the project. It is a home, and a part of a larger community that it impacts. Our goal is to make sure our buildings are not only successful projects, but are constructed in a manner that contributes to the community, while meeting the needs of the buildings owners and future occupants. Our work is guided by our values, which enable to ensure a project’s success.

Jeff Conley – Sequil Systems, Inc.  (Download PDF Story)





El nuevo de la plaza

17 04 2007

El nuevo de la plaza

Está dispuesto a tomar riesgos y enfrentar cambios. A sus 29 años, Aaron Newman quiere adueñarse del concepto de “construcciones verdes” en Panamá

Yolanda Sandoval
ysandoval@prensa.com

Aaron Newman es un hombre que no le teme a los cambios radicales. A finales de la década de 1990 abandonó Nueva York para vivir en Miami, y dejó el negocio de la publicidad por el de bienes raíces.

Con estas referencias no era nada raro que en esa búsqueda de más retos le diera a su vida un giro de 180 grados y su brújula apuntara hacia un pequeño país latinoamericano.

Su empresa, Urban Core International, se había identificado en Estados Unidos como una promotora de proyectos residenciales tipo boutique, y Panamá, de acuerdo con su filosofía del negocio, era el “paraíso” de las oportunidades.

“El mercado de bienes raíces en Estados Unidos estaba debilitado, mientras que en Panamá el negocio se veía cada día más fortalecido”, afirma.

Llegó al país hace nueve meses y dice que a diferencia de algunos especuladores, ha venido a quedarse. “Echaré raíces. No pretendo ganar dinero e irme”.

Su decisión de instalarse en el país estuvo respaldada por el crecimiento económico, las construcciones de talla mundial que anuncian que algo bueno tiene la ciudad, el proyecto de ampliación del Canal en ciernes y la consolidación y presencia de los bancos más importantes del mundo.

Hay sobradas ventajas para su negocio, pero también mucha competencia, sobre todo para alguien que aunque hizo un nombre en Palm Beach, Boca Ratón y Fort Lauderdale, localmente es casi desconocido.

La propuesta de Newman es

desarrollar proyectos sostenibles y proporcionarle a los dueños de estos proyectos un servicio de administración.

Hace dos meses anunció que se encuentra en las primeras etapas del desarrollo del primer edificio verde de la ciudad de Panamá, en el corregimiento de Bella Vista. Estaría localizado a unas cuadras de la avenida Balboa y el Parque Urracá.

Se conoce que el edificio sería el primero en ofrecer la integración de los principios expuestos por el programa LEED del Consejo de Edificios Verdes de Estados Unidos, un estándar reconocido para el diseño sostenible. Sin embargo, faltan los permisos reglamentarios de construcción, lo que impide que Newman hable con soltura del proyecto.

Como fundador y socio administrativo de Urban Core International, ha estado involucrado en la adquisición de tierras y asesoría para la urbanización de zonas especiales en Estados Unidos. Uno de sus desafíos será introducir el concepto de “construcciones verdes”, con el que localmente estamos poco familiarizados.

Se trata de edificios que causan el menor uso posible de energía no renovable, producen menos contaminación y residuos y, por ende resultan más cómodos, saludables y seguros para las personas que viven y trabajan en ellos.

El tema es que estas edificaciones, aunque a la larga generan ahorro de energía para sus habitantes y mejor calidad de vida, salen algo más caras que las construcciones tradicionales.

Es la primera vez que su empresa promueve un edificio con estas características, pero Newman afirma que ha hecho consultorías para de-sarrolladores que ponen en práctica el mismo modelo de ingeniería.

Su experiencia incluye el cargo de secretario del distrito de Desarrollo Comunitario de Midtown, Miami, en donde ayudó a la ejecución y

desarrollo de proyectos. Adicionalmente estuvo en el comité consultor de la ciudad de West Palm Beach, donde participó en el establecimiento de planes de revitalización de la ciudad a largo plazo.

“Nuestra meta es que nuestros edificios contribuyan positivamente a la comunidad. Al mismo tiempo deben cumplir con las necesidades de los dueños de edificios y ocupantes futuros”, subraya.

Antes de entrar en el negocio de bienes raíces, Newman fundó y sirvió como principal administrativo de WaxDigital, Inc., una firma de mercadeo y consultoría de publicidad localizada en Nueva York. De esa etapa de su vida quedan buenos recuerdos. En WaxDigital formó numerosas relaciones con compañías de Fortune 500 y Fortune 1000.

Ahora su reto será probar que vale la pena pagar por un apartamento amigable con el medio ambiente. Su intuición le indica que en Panamá encontrará clientes.

Perfil

Trayectoria

Newman es miembro activo del Congreso para el Nuevo Urbanismo. También es simpatizante del Urban Land Institute en Estados Unidos.

Es corredor de hipotecas y administrador de propiedades con licencia para operar en Florida.

Fue nombrado como uno de los mejores empresarios por Crain’s New York Business.

Según Newman las ideas se realizan cuando grandes personas se unen.





Urban Core retains Sequil Systems, Inc. to certify Panamá’s first LEED certified building

13 04 2007

April 13, 2007, Panamá City, Panamá:  Urban Core International, S.A. announced today that it has retained the services of Boca Raton, Florida based Sequil Systems, Inc., to commission and certify the “Urban Vista” project in the Bella Vista neighborhood of Panamá City, Panamá. Urban Core is striving to achieve the USGBC LEED Silver certification. Aaron Newman, Managing Partner of Urban Core International, S.A., as well as the project developer and owner, stated that Urban Vista is slated to be Panamá’s first LEED certified project and that “bringing Sequil on-board was like putting one of the most important pieces of the puzzle into place.” “We are very excited to work with Sequil,” Aaron Newman continued. “Sequil is a company with tremendous experience in LEED commissioning and certification.  Their talent and integrity speaks for itself.”

About the USGBC LEED Program:
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

About Sequil Systems, Inc.:
Sequil brings together over 20 years of experience in Architecture, Engineering, Design and Program Management.  Our LEED Accredited Professionals have proven knowledge, skills and experience to guide your project to sustainability in a cost- effective manner.

Sequil’s Mission is to transform the built environment to sustainable, responsible, healthy structures to minimize the use of precious energy, materials and resources in buildings today.

About Urban Core International, S.A.:
Urban Core International, S.A. is focused on the development of boutique residential and commercial property in and around Urban Cores. Our mission is two fold; to develop sustainable, quality projects with a focus on strength through design and collaboration, and to provide project owners whom we represent with unparalleled project management services through hard work, collaboration, discipline and attention to detail.

At Urban Core, we believe that a building is more than simply the sum of its parts. It is a well-founded idea, one that has been reviewed from all angles, by all disciplines involved in the project. It is a home, and a part of a larger community that it impacts. Our goal is to make sure our buildings are not only successful projects, but are constructed in a manner that contributes to the community, while meeting the needs of the buildings owners and future occupants. Our work is guided by our values, which enable to ensure a project’s success.





Seaside Revisited: A model town, 25 years later.

1 03 2007

Stefani from our Boca office came across this awesome SeaSide slideshow on Slate.com.

Seaside is one of the most amazing and first TND’s ever created and built. The community was designed by DPZ Duany Plater-Zyberk one of the most respected and creative architectural firms and master planners in the world. Seaside is considered to be a “legend” of the TND’s and one of the most influential communities in the New Urbanistic world.

Thanks to the Slate for the awesome story and Stefani for finding it.

Seaside Revisited A model town, 25 years later.
By Witold Rybczynski
Posted Wednesday, Feb. 28, 2007, at 7:17 AM ET
Disclosure: The Seaside Institute recently awarded Witold Rybczynski the Seaside Prize for “significant contributions to the quality and character of our communities.”

Slate.com Seaside Slide Show