Monday, March 19, 2007

Green Buildings

There was an interesting article in the past issue of The Dig about new green building codes in Boston.

“If LEED is successful, it will become obsolete. It will become code. It will become practice. There will be no alternative to green.”

- Barbra Batshalom, founder of Green Roundtable

Apparently, Boston is making larger strides in green zoning than any other city to date.

“You go to other places where anything goes, and you do see building there, but—and this is my own cultural perspective—you see incredible sprawl, massive waste and kind of a placeless character of things. At times it feels like we are competing with North Carolina for biotech and stuff. But you know what—they can tear down a forest and throw up some factory, but people don’t want to be there,” he says. “The challenge for Boston is that the quality of the urban environment is very important.”

- John Dalzell, Sr. architect at the Boston Redevelopment Authority

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Gravity defying dirt

Trees in Allston

The street tree species chosen for planting by the City of Boston are rarely native to New England. They are chosen in large part because they tolerate the car exhaust, street toxics, and other stresses of the urban environment well. However, even these hardy urban tree species often have a lifespan of only a few years in the Heart of the City because the conditions for growth are poor.

- The Database of the Greenspaces and Neighborhoods in the heart of Boston.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Rolling Bridge Park

I happened on this area last year while working on a project, and I found it very fascinating. It's one of the "must see" spots along The Boston Harborwalk on the Fort Point Channel. Depending on where you sit, you can have either a view of the Gillette World Shaving headquarters, the freeway and commuter rail, or where the MBTA houses Redline trains not in use. Rolling Bridge Park was desgined by the Central Artery/Tunnel Project and the Mass Turnpike Authority as mitigation for disruptions during construction.

Rolling Bridge Park has the second highest amount of open space in The Boston Harborwalk tour. I appreciate that the MTA wants to increase open space around this very industrialized area, but it seems more to me like an odd testament of human accomplishments. To their credit, there really is no way to off set the cables, buildings, steel and concrete, that completely engulf this park. These trappings of industrialism make everything within the park seem unrealistic, and therefore, frivolous by design. The trees do not function as park trees; they function as street trees.
In a way, this is an industrializ-ed park. It's as if someone sat down, made of formula of what a park needs, and made it an overlty efficient open space. All the different park "staples" that were placed here do not function in a park capacity themselves, but of the idea of a park. It's like wanting to travel the world, but going to Disneyland's "It's a Small World" instead.

For more photos, you can go to my Flickr account.