Fighting Climate Change with Green Zoning  

Oct 26, 2:45 pm, Room 110

Matt Hutchins, CAST architecture

Most current land use policy continues fossil-fuel dependent patterns of segregated uses at very low density. People say their neighborhoods are full, leaving no room for increased housing demand or more affordable options. 

Land use policy dictates where people live and work. It is not enough to mandate or build high performance green buildings, if they are dispersed through an unsustainable land use pattern. Either we're baking in unsustainable dependencies that drive climate change or we are remaking the pattern to reduce it.

This session with discuss 'Green-zoning'-putting more people where they can enjoy a lower carbon life and highlight recent successful land use reforms that align housing advocates, planning decision-makers, social activists and business communities to support more sustainable and equitable ways of living. 

I'll focus on the broad environmental benefits, visualization of incremental development under reformed codes, and how to build coalitions to make your city embrace more compact and sustainable ways of living.  

I will run through Seattle's brand new Residential Small Lot Zoning (RSL) that allows twice the households per parcel as other Single family zones, the new ADU reform, initiatives in Portland, Minneapolis and Austin that make residential neighborhoods more 'plexible'. I'll also try to get people excited to reform SEPA to maximize real environmental benefits. 

As architects and building professionals, we can be key communicators to scale up regional efforts and make our neighborhoods, towns and cities catalysts against climate change.


© 2019 Northwest EcoBuilding Guild.

The Northwest Green Building Slam + Summit is presented by the Northwest EcoBuilding Guild.