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In the News

NorthWest Crossing and Sunlight Solar Energy have announced plans for installation of SunPower solar panels on the newest commercial building in the NorthWest Crossing "Neighborhood Center" located along NW Crossing Drive in NorthWest Crossing, a mixed-use community on the west side of Bend, Ore.

The building has been registered with the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Core and Shell Program, and the new solar system will fulfill the national program requirements for renewable energy. The system is estimated to produce 10 KW of solar energy for the building. The NorthWest Crossing Sales Center building on the corner of NW Crossing and Mt Washington Drive also has a solar energy system installed on its roof.

Canin Associates of Orlando, Fla., has been selected by GS Florida to design the master plan for Restoration, a 6,300-acre community in Volusia County that showcases the natural environment and restores large areas of the site to pre-development native Florida conditions. According to Canin Associates, the master plan will include an extensive recreation trail that winds throughout the community, mixed-use neighborhood centers, a town center and workplace with 2 million square feet of office and retail, civic spaces and ample retail opportunities -- all adhering to new urbanist principles.

IronHorse has announced that Sun Forest, SunWest Builders and Viking Construction have purchased the initial lots in IronHorse, the new Brooks Resources Corporation mixed-use community in Prineville, Ore. The lots make up the first three neighborhood "pods," located near Hudspeth Road as it enters IronHorse, in which each will respectively build. The first completed homes are expected to be available in late spring.

IronHorse has been designed as a natural extension of Prineville's existing historic area. It includes a variety of residential housing options, plans for a public school site, a neighborhood commercial center, and more than 250 acres of parks and open spaces. For more information, go to or call 541.416.8888.

In a February e-newsletter the not-for-profit The Laurent Institute announced that key members of the organization will leave the Sioux Falls, S.D., area and relocate to the Indianapolis, Ind., area within the next few months. The Laurent Institute exists as the fundraising vehicle and developer of the world's first fully integrated town for deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people who use sign language on a daily basis.

"The two most important factors that contributed to the change of direction are the failure of our angel supporter to close our funding package, and the immediate educational needs of my four deaf children," said Marvin Miller, cofounder of the Institute.

Other factors include the declining enrollment at South Dakota School for the Deaf, and the rapidly declining deaf and signing population in Sioux Falls due to changes at Communication Service for the Deaf.

The Laurent Institute will not have an office in Indiana, nor does it mean the town would be built in Indiana. Using input from the local deaf and signing community will be valuable, however, while determining the new location for the town of Laurent.

A new pilot rating system for LEED-Neighborhood Developments has been released. A joint venture of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the US Green Building Council (USBGC) and the Natural Resources Defense Council, LEED-ND acknowledges that more than a third of greenhouse gases and a similar share of other environmental impacts are generated by buildings, but another third is generated transporting people and goods to and from those buildings. Through a multi-year research and review process, the LEED-ND partners have identified draft criteria that will guide developments to achieve significant improvements in sustainability on both of these fronts, as well as related ones such as water management and habitat preservation.

During the pilot phase, the LEED-ND rating system is tested against real world projects in order to improve the system and its applicability in the marketplace. LEED has helped create an expanded market for green buildings and LEED-ND is expected to expand the already favorable market for compact traditional neighborhoods.

Those who would like their projects to be considered for the pilot should download and complete the expression of interest form and pilot project checklist from the USBGC Web site ( and e-mail the completed forms to by April 6, 2007 at 5 p.m. Pacific time. Projects in all stages of development -- from pre-entitlement planning to complete construction -- will be accepted into the pilot program.

The pilot can be downloaded at also.

For more information, go to or call Stephen Filmanowicz of CNU at 312.927.0979.

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced the creation of a $200,000 award, called the Jane Jacobs Medal, to recognize individuals who have made a significant contribution to thinking about urban design, specifically in New York City. The medal will be given annually to two people: one who has made a lifetime contribution and another who is at the start of a promising career.

The deadline for nominations for the awards via the Rockefeller Foundation Web site was March 2. The recipients of the award will be announced in June, and an award ceremony will take place in September, simultaneously with the opening of an exhibit on Jacobs at the Municipal Art Society.

The Mercado at Rosemary Beach, a 45,000-square-foot, mixed-use building in the town center of Rosemary Beach, Fla., received high marks from the Tennessee Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA Tennessee) at its 2006 design awards program.

The group presented Looney Ricks Kiss, which has headquarters in Memphis, with an award of merit for the design. The firm was one of seven finalists chosen from a group of nearly 70 entrants from around the state that were judged by a jury of peers from North Carolina.

The Mercado building includes retail, office and residential space. The retail area is located on the building's ground floor, while office and residential space is on the floors above. Designed to reflect the style of a European market building, The Mercado's exterior is finished in stucco with stained wood detailing and wooden roof shingles.

Chicagoans who buy new housing in low-income neighborhoods prefer homes that are integrated into the neighborhood, not isolated from it, says a report by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers in the Journal of the American Planning Association.

Buyers are willing to pay 33 percent to 50 percent more for units in single-family or small multi-family buildings with entrances that face the street and parking that faces the alley, according to the report published in the Winter 2007 issue of the Journal of the American Planning Association. Buyers also favor relatively short setbacks from the street and construction materials similar to those used in neighboring buildings.

"The value differential implies that buyers of these homes recognize the connections of this housing to the neighborhoods, whether those connections are physical, social or economic," said Brent Ryan, assistant professor of urban planning and policy, who co-authored the report with Rachel Weber, associate professor of urban planning and policy.

"This might be expected in higher-income neighborhoods, but it's more surprising in low-income neighborhoods, given that the literature portrays an overriding concern for personal and property security.

"This study should be reassuring to urbanists who believe that the best way to revitalize urban neighborhoods is to respect and augment existing places rather than attempt to transform them into another type of neighborhood entirely."

According to a Feb. 5 article in The Christian Science Monitor, more than 40 U.S. cities and towns are examining the possibility of returning streetcars to their streets.

Impressed by the financial success of the modern streetcar system in Portland, Ore., which launched in 2001, these municipalities have either introduced similar programs or begun feasibility studies to do so. According to figures from local officials and data advocacy groups:

. Tampa, Fla., spent more than $55 million on its system and attracted more than $1 billion in investments.
. More than 100 projects, worth around $2.5 billion, were built along the $100-million Portland line.
. The $20-million line in Little Rock, Ark., attracted about $200 million in development.
. Kenosha, Wis., with a population just shy of 100,000, built the cheapest system ($5.2 million for 2 miles of track), which brought in about $150 million in development.

The SmartCode Workshop: Public Speaker Series
March 29, 5:00 to 7:30 p.m.
Frank Erwin Center, Lone Star Room
Austin, Texas
Free event; no registration required.
More information at

Developing Green: Integrating Sustainability with Success
April 23 – 24
Westin Convention Center
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Registration information at or call 800.321.5011.

Environments for Aging conference
April 23 - 24
Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards
Baltimore, Md.
More information at

National Charrette Institute public training
April 30 - May 4
Arlington, Va.
More information at

May 17 - 20
Philadelphia, Pa.
More information at

Press releases about town planning, development and events can be e-mailed to Jason Miller at