Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sustainable Design Project

Virginia Beach's Sustainable Design Project is holding meetings this week. It's done by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) through a grant, then supplemented by private sponsors. The Project is to look at land use and design issues in Virginia Beach from the perspective of outside professionals looking in, who don't have a dog in the fight and can lend ideas from around the country.


Monday night was the first meeting, held at the convention center.

It started with the introduction of the team AIA has assembled to look at Virginia Beach. They are volunteers who have expertise in a particular field. So they can't profit from their own work, all are required to refuse work in Virginia Beach based on the Project findings for two years after.

That was followed by an open microphone session at which residents could bring up issues of concern for them.


Tuesday morning saw a work session at the 31st Street Hilton. There were four groups, each covering a different area of the project: Sustainable and Green Economic Development and Energy, Transportation and Complete Streets, Local Agriculture and Seafood, and Urban Design and Village Centers.

On Monday night I had been tagged (surprise, surprise) for the Transportation group. Our Facilitator was Keith Wilson of Santa Fe's MPO. Keith is a native of Scotland who worked in Massachusetts before recently moving on to New Mexico. In our group there were a few with Transportation backgrounds, a couple land planners, and a well-known community activist. Like all other groups, we spent two hours offering and discussing ideas.

The AIA volunteers are to develop recommendations based on our input and what they've seen in Virginia Beach.


Tonight will be a Presentation on their findings to the public at the convention center. Since I'll be in Norfolk at another meeting (which I'll blog on later), I won't be there.

However, in a few weeks I'm supposed to receive an electronic copy of the AIA Report. If interesting, I'll blog on it then.

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