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Dallas eyes sustainability one block at a time

How do you make a sprawling city like Dallas more sustainable? The answer might be, “One city block at a time.”

City officials and urban planners from across the U.S. are meeting in Dallas today for a full-day “Design Charrette,” or an intense sustainability brainstorming session. They hope to end the day with a guidemap for kicking off an international design competition aimed at actually creating such a sustainable block within the city.

The gathering is being organised by the city of Dallas, the Dallas-based bcWORKSHOP and a San Francisco group, Urban re:Vision.

“Our job on December 5th is to explore how pivotal the city block is in the urban landscape, and how it can be used as a catalyst for a whole new way of living,” said Stacey Frost, founder of Urban Re:Vision. “This process is one that puts real people first and promotes sustainability.”

Among the factors charrette participants plan to consider are how to best manage resources like air, water and even waste, and how to balance equality and economy. They’ll also take into account such issues as energy systems, transportation and the environment, both natural and developed.

“The goal is to create the first fully sustainable block downtown,” said Brent Brown, a Dallas architect and founder of the bcWORKSHOP (the “bc” stands for “buildingcommunity”. “And by sustainable, we mean a place that is socially, economically and environmentally healthy. We’ll take the first step in that effort on Friday.”

Looks like all the good news out of Texas today means I have to eat yesterday’s words.

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