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Sustainability: strong leadership is required for a healthy future

Sustainability is about more than just eating well for a healthy tomorrow, it is relevant to the very buildings we are creating around us, and the “future” is creeping up on us quickly.



Healthier Living with Local Leaders

Taking a look at the urban design trends, needs and wants for Americans, you’d think that we were on a fifteen-year-plus resolution kick. By 2030, we need to BLAH. By 2030, we  are going to have to BLARG. The last several articles that I have read about sustainability and design seemed like manifestos more than a publication of facts, ready to get the United States out of what seems to be a sickening rut of obesity and health-related complications.

A much needed kick-in-the-pants is on its way from the  American Institute of Architects, as the AIA has put together a very strong case for “Local Leaders” citing what the US will look like by 2030 if we don’t get active, more healthy communities designed and implemented.

These manifestos have agendas behind them and the agendas might just make some sense to get people moving again.

What is on the agenda for New Urbanism?

I remember the first time I learned about New Urbanism. It was when I had my first “really real” job at a commercial real estate firm in Austin where I got the opportunity to pull numbers and do side research on the Request For Qualification for a project that is just now coming to fruition ten years later.

We didn’t get the project, but it was a super-cool process and being young, I enjoyed being a sponge for all things real estate. I loved every part of RFQ, from research to team downloads. This was when LEED was just beginning to bud-out, and the gentleman that I worked for was putting the ultimate package together, so I was stoked to get to sit in on meetings and take notes about all of these terms that were setting the pace for the future.

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Mixed-use and transit-oriented and pedestrian-friendly and live-work-play and sustainability in product use. Too cool. This project was something that was meant to be beautiful, thoughtful and incorporate well into the life-blood and heartbeat of the cityscape. It was something that makes so much sense now, and I am cruising through the AIA Local Leaders plan is that even ten years ago, as the powers that be thought up that project scope, it incorporated healthy-living guidelines.

I guess the project team was thinking of that 2030 goal, even back in 2004. Something quite similar to the  project I got to work on in Austin has happened recently at the Mosaic District in Merrifield, Virginia. A space that was considered to be undervalued and a “wasteland” has become a highly desirable, walkable community that is considered to be a sought-after destination. Mosaic has the vibrancy of an urban setting, all the while being suburban in-fill development.

Creating your healthy project team

Their AIA Local Leaders publication states “Local leaders who are committed to working with architects, health officials, and other key constituencies will not only make their communities more livable now, but they will also create stronger, more economically viable communities for decades to come.”

Something that is so important here is that healthy living doesn’t just come from the eating choices that we make (although that is a huge part of the problem… oh goodness, a side rant could come from this!), it comes from the amount of activity we choose to partake in, and it also comes from the quality of the environment around us. Good, healthy design understands how people will live, work, play, and interact in their community and gain movement while utilizing the space to the maximum highest and best use. 

Having the architects and designers come together with local leaders around us is crucial for the sustainability and growth of a healthy future; it’s great that people are finally starting to get their heads together to create a healthier tomorrow.

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Written By

Genevieve Concannon is one of those multifaceted individuals who brings business savvy, creativity and conscientiousness to the table in real estate and social media.  Genevieve takes marketing and sustainability in a fresh direction- cultivating some fun and funky grass roots branding and marketing strategies that set her and Arbour Realtyapart from the masses. Always herself and ready to help others understand sustainability in building a home or a business, Genevieve brings a new way to look at marketing yourself in the world of real estate and green building- because she's lived it and breathed it and played in the sand piles with the big-boys.  If you weren't aware, Genevieve is a sustainability nerd, a ghost writer and the event hostess with the mostess in NoVa. 

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  1. Pingback: In this sustainability boom, why aren't VC dollars pointed at greenhouses?

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