Friday, April 6, 2007

Going green... and building up downtown at the same time

City Council members say there's no doubt that more parking is needed downtown, especially with the forthcoming arena and all the commercial and residential developments that have been envisioned in the blocks around it. But they're also thinking about green space for playgrounds or just benches and trees to give people a place to chill out. Green roofs even came up.

City planners are proposing that 5 to 10 percent of each development, be it a shopping area or office building, should be green space. City Council member Sharon Fearey said in a workshop last week that she's hoping the city can convince developers to put their pieces together to make larger open areas in the heart of downtown. She also advocated for green roofs, a concept used in many cities to cut down on the heat generated by all the blacktop, cut energy costs in the buildings and offer grassy space in the most unlikely of spots -- several stories above ground. Fearey said green roofs could be integrated into parking ramps since many people don't like parking on the top level anyway because there's no protection from summertime heat or weather.

Read more about green roofs at this industry website. Read more about these types of concepts in this National League of Cities article. See the green roof atop the new Minneapolis Library here.


Anonymous said...

I just wanted to say that this blog is a breath of fresh air.

Keep it up! This is a great blog.

chitknit said...

Yes! Greenspace is good! While we're at it, can we continue working on the bike/hike paths? We need a SYSTEM of bike trails that will take you all over the city.

Think like the Streamways Trails in Johnson County. You can hop on in one part of the county and ride for miles.

Ben Koker said...

Chitnit's right! We have a patchwork of bike paths that are completely undermaintained. That's probably why you see so few people actually using them.

As to more greenspace, it is ABOUT TIME! Do we want to pretend to be a big city, or actually do something that's not only progressive, but already being done in large cities around the world.