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Located on the Ozark Plateau, this 43-unit housing development is a LEED-ND (Neighborhood Development) pilot project to be built for $60/sf plus $2.3 million in infrastructure costs. The studio objective is to design a demonstration project that combines affordability with best environmental practices as designated by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Porchscapes is a pioneering Low Impact Development (LID) project funded under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 319 Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution. LID manages stormwater runoff through ecological engineering technologies. A contiguous network of rainwater gardens, bioswales, infiltration trenches, sediment filter strips, green streets, and wet meadows cleans water through biological processes without the use of conventional and costly hard engineering solutions (curbs, gutters, catch basins, and detention ponds). This biological treatment network employs smaller neighborhood groupings developed as subwatersheds, which combine hydrological services with open space design. The project also sponsors America’s first true “shared street”.
The objective is to design a demonstration project that combines affordability with best environmental practices as designated by the U.S. Green Building Council. The Project is a Low Impact Development (LID) funded under the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Section 319 Program for Nonpoint Source Pollution. LID manages runoff in ecologically engineered treatment landscapes interconnected throughout the project site. Conventional engineering, offering no ecological services beyond storage, simply transports polluted water elsewhere. A contiguous network of rainwater gardens, bioswales, infiltration trenches, sediment filter strips, tree box filters, and wet meadows clean stormwater using biological processes. Thus, neighborhood sectors are developed as subwatersheds, offering new forms of civic space.
Conventional residential development separates horizontal infrastructural planning from individual property development. The Project devises a Green Neighborhood Transect to integrate the “context-production” components of house, porch, yard, shared street, and open space, otherwise developed and financed autonomously. Neighborhood landscapes are developed in tandem with house-porch typologies. Indeed, the porch is considered as much a component of the landscape systems as an extension of interior home space.
Neighborhoods as Sub-Watersheds
Hydrological processes organize various neighborhood groupings into sub-watersheds. Sub-watersheds define place-based runoff treatment trains, incorporating bioswales, sediment filters, and infiltration trenches.
Shared Streets – From a Traffic World to a Social World
Streets are designed as multipurpose landscapes to calm vehicular traffic, provide LID management facilities, and reclaim social functions lost to the automobile’s dominance. Modeled after the Dutch woonerfs, these “living streets” or shared streets have a remarkable record of safety. Streets are key components of the stormwater runoff treatment train, incorporating bioswales, sediment filters, and infiltration trenches. This eliminates costly curbs, gutters, pipes, and catch basins in conventional civil-engineered systems, which often fail at 25-year events. Streets and attending green spaces are recombined as a treatment network to create “productive park” spaces, sponsoring active and passive recreation. Since coverage of more than 30% of the site by hard surfaces leads to irreversible watershed degradation, soft (pervious) surfaces for parking and skinny traffic throughways are employed throughout the project.
urban design, low impact development, ecological engineering, architecture, neighborhood development, non-point source pollution, shared streets
Architectural Engineering | Environmental Design | Landscape Architecture | Other Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning | Urban Studies | Urban Studies and Planning
2010 AIA Education Honor Award
2010 Residential Architect Design Merit Award
2009 American Architecture Award
2009 Progressive Architecture Award
2009 AIA Honor Award for Regional and Urban Design
2008 ACSA/AIA Housing Award
2008 AR AIA Award
2008 AR APA Award
2008 ASLA Honor Award
Community Design Center. (2008). Porchscapes: between neighborhood watershed and home. Project Reports. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.uark.edu/cdcpr/3
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