Title: Green Blocks - North Parks
by, Erik Lomeland of Edmonton, Alberta
This new housing prototype, effectively a type of stacked town-house, is designed to combine generous living accomodations within high-density neighbourhoods. Regionally, these 'Green Blocks' are intended for Northern Climates with variable seasons. As such, the form, function and sustainable aspects have been considered for those of us living around and above the 45th parallel - a domestic region we might generically label 'North Park.'
The intent of the Green Blocks is to set the private home in closer context with the city - in hopes that individuals and families can live more comfortably in Urban Settings, and in so doing achieve a broader compact of sustainability with the world.
Together, six design aspects help define an overall approach that links individual and collective needs together toward a stronger and more resilient whole.
1. Indoor Gardens - Effectively like front-door green houses that provide an extended summer into the home, allow plants to naturally clean air, and provide space to garden (for food or ornamentation). The indoor gardens help promote local self-sufficiency, reduce air-borne carbon, maximize use of daylighting, and add redundancy into the food supply.
2. Local Agriculture - Space for the production and retail of locally grown food is provided as a way for families and individuals to feed themselves and their neighbors.This adds a layer of communnal self-sufficiency and redundacy to the private realm of the indoor gardens, mentioned above.
3. Density & Mixed Use - As an overall solution, the prototype provides family sized dwelling at roughly 800% more density than conventional suburbs, thus reducing infrastructure and resource demands. It also functions as a mixed use building, in recognition that communities are complex and have a variety of needs - thus it promotes system diversity.
4. Water Reuse - To protect our most precious resource, the water system makes use of grey water from sinks & showers for use toward toilets and gardens, adding redundacy to the water supply and draining less from municipal & natural resources.
5. Reduced Presence of Cars - In the interests of gaining acceptance with more North Americans, the design maintains a place for personal cars, but simply puts them off the street so that residents are given more room & opportunity to walk, blike, or take public transit.
6. Contextual Adaptability - As simple self-sufficient blocks that can be added together, the prototype is amenable to a variety of large and small sites, old and new. The repeated modularity of its design ensures a stadardization that lends itself to easy re-use, adaption and replication of parts. Thus, easy to build and easy to site, it is capable of bringing sustainable design to a wide variety of locations.
Altogether, this proposal is considered a realistic prototype, one not intended to subject people to the latest frontiers of green science, but rather, put current ideas and technologies into more common practice. In this regard, the Green Blocks are made to play a strong 'supporting role' in creating resilient cities; by either blending into small sites, or patching together neigbourhoods in whole or in part. Essentially, the point is to achieve Resilience collectively, one block at at time...