EcoBlock is a block-level urban infill development model that incorporates innovative social, environmental, and economic systems to minimize human impact on climate change and to maximize social equity. Urban blocks are typically centered on alleyways, with properties isolated in their ownership, energy and water consumption. In addition, blocks are often segregated from each other by use, age, class, race and ethnicity. Many areas of our older cities are also completely or partially abandoned with crumbling infrastructure due to economic and racial disinvestment.
EcoBlock focuses on redesigning blocks within the existing grid pattern from an ecological standpoint to work in harmony with nature, while including 20% low-income housing that can also accommodate immigrants to ensure economic and social diversity.
Net-zero energy will be achieved through a combination of energy efficiency and renewable energy, but also through energy conservation resulting from simpler lifestyles and more mindful consumption. This includes shared electric cars, bikes, tools, and common spaces. Availability of more local services, including daycare, groceries, and workspaces reduce the need to travel and encourage walkability. EcoBlock is also designed for resiliency and self-sufficiency while integrating with and enhancing existing utility systems.
In addition to honoring the historic urban block pattern that promotes walkability and a diffuse transportation network, EcoBlock can incorporate remaining historic structures while also interpreting traditional building types, but expressing them in a new vernacular.
The core concept of EcoBlock is to create a design prototype and a Form-Based Code that can be site adapted to any abandoned urban block across the country. As the redevelopment of our cities is beginning to address these overlooked areas, this prototype is urgently needed to serve as a model for future redevelopment efforts.