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Albuquerque 2030 District Gains Traction With Mainstreet Partnership

Industry: Commerical Building

Albuquerque 2030 District gaining traction with adoption of the initiative by Downtown ABQ MainStreet and baseline data, boundaries proposed by UNM Architecture students.

Albuquerque, NM (PRUnderground) April 28th, 2014

In the works since fall of 2013, development of a 2030 District in Albuquerque’s downtown core is gaining traction with its adoption as a key project of Downtown ABQ MainStreet, and baseline research toward district development compiled by University of New Mexico School of Architecture and Planning students.

The 2030 District movement was spurred by the 2030 Challenge, issued by Albuquerque native Ed Mazria’s firm, Architecture 2030 in 2006. The firm issued the challenge after identifying the link between climate change and the built environment: specifically, buildings comprise 48% of total U.S. energy consumption and greenhouse gas (GHQ) emissions, and 77 percent of total U.S. electricity consumption.

In the eight years following the 2030 Challenge 2030 Districts have formed in Seattle, Cleveland, Los Angeles, Denver, and Pittsburg and over 20 cities across the nation, Albuquerque among them, at various stages of adoption.   District formation involves active participation by building owners to adopt cities to reduce energy useage in existing and new buildings.

Downtown ABQ Mainstreet Board of Directors Vice President and UNM Architecture Departure alum Laurie Tarbell, LEED AP describes what a 2030 District is all about:

“A 2030 District is a voluntary program that will provide downtown property owners and developers an enticing invitation to build new buildings or effectively maintain and remodel existing structures in a forward-looking manner that will reinvigorate the area and attract desirable new occupants.”

Formation of Albuquerque 2030 District

An Albuquerque 2030 District exploratory committee led by AIA architects formed last fall. Despite a slow start, momentum to develop a District is beginning to gain traction as Downtown ABQ Mainstreet recently adopted it as a lead project. Additionally, the UNM School of Architecture and Planning’s CityLab Studio provided vital on-the-ground research and data collection toward District development last fall semester.

Downtown ABQ MainStreet, a nonprofit founded last year, has a mission “to foster downtown Albuquerque as a vibrant and attractive place to visit, work, shop, eat, walk, bicycle, and live.” Its purpose is to promote and support Downtown’s economic, social and creative vitality.

Laurie Tarbell and her husband Jared, who is an Albuquerque native and co-founder of the social media site Etsy, recently purchased the former Albuquerque Journal building on 7th and Silver and have transformed it into an über green, net energy positive building with a 24 kilowatt solar array, among other features. Tarbell’s fellow members of the MainStreet Board of Directors are equally enthusiastic about the 2030 effort.

CityLab Students Provide Baseline Data for District

CityLab, UNM School of Architecture and Planning’s on-the-street studio, engaged a group of students fall 2013 semester in both data collection and visioning to support development of the Albuquerque 2030 District. Michaele Pride led the studio with assistant instructor and 2030 District Exploratory Committee member Hilary Noll.

“The studio investigated the public and private implications of developing an Albuquerque 2030 District,” Noll shared.  “We looked at potential boundaries for the district, and considered what kinds of interventions could be used.  We were able to accomplish a lot of the legwork the Committee didn’t have the time to do.”

CityLab student research, which will be compiled over the coming months into an executive summary, focused on the downtown core.  Students focused on areas of energy, water—in buildings, stormwater, harvesting and re-use, transportation, agriculture and access to food, equity and equality, and economic development opportunities. They also assessed building density and identified unused and underutilized sites.

“CityLab’s contribution was amazing,” says Matt Higgins, member of the 2030 District exploratory committee. “They gathered a lot of baseline research and helped us look at what could happen, asking the question: ‘if we had a blank check and minimal restrictions, what would we do?’ That’s what we want to be reaching for.”

For more information on the Albuquerque 2030 District contact Laurie Tarbell, Vice President of Downtown ABQ MainStreet  at (505) 363-5646, or laurie@levitated.net.

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