San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

Hi folks,

Thank you to everyone who has been following the blog. A lot has been in development in the past two weeks and I’m excited to share my findings with you all.

After the initial phase of researching precedents and understanding the potential of the INSIDELANDS, my team decided that we want to take the project in a new direction. For us, the research phase yielded plenty of data and statistics, but the most difficult part was being able to visually translate that data in order to make it comprehensible and accessible, which is how we ended up where we are now. We have decided to create a tool that allows for community members to understand the value of their intra-block if it were to be made into an undivided, open, green space. This tool allows you to find site specific data about your block (acres of green land, soil condition, climate condition, etc.) and simulates scenarios that show you the potential for play, growth and energy harvesting on your block.

This tool is also intended to allow for anyone to understand different systems they can incorporate into their intra-block in order to add and abstract value from the land. A large part of my research thus far has been understanding how different water and energy saving systems work and being able to quantify that data for our sample site, the Lower Inner Richmond District.

I’ve found exciting and compelling opportunities in water harvesting and cleaning. I have also found information on different crops that thrive in sandy and foggy environments and in fact yield a lot of profit, that can be used to buy solar panels and wind turbines for the block.

With the latest drought in California and the environmental crisis the entire world is witnessing, it is important to have a tool that allows for the public to find incentives and value in making their immediate communities more sustainable and eco-friendly.

Last week, I went on a tour of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and learned a great deal about how just one building embodies several different green systems. The building is one of the first buildings in the nation with onsite treatment of gray and black water. It also features an onsite “Living Machine” which reclaims and treats all of the building’s waste water to satisfy 100% of the water demand for the building’s low-flow toilets and urinals. The “Living Machine” system treats 5,000 gallons of wastewater per day and reduces per person water consumption from 12 gallons (normal office building) to 5 gallons and The building’s 25,000 gallon rainwater harvesting system provides water for irrigation uses around the building. And those are just the systems that involve water! The building also uses solar and wind energy to minimize the cost of operations.

The tour gave me great ideas about how different systems can be connected to produce social, economic, and civic value for a community (or an office building in this case). It was motivating to hear that the City incentivizes implementing these strategies in homes and neighborhoods through different legislation.

Gaining inspiration from the tour, we are now moving forward with our research on the INSIDELANDS and I will be attending a Code for San Francisco meeting to gauge the feasibility of creating a tool that allows you to simulate a green, sustainable, neighborhood block.

Stay tuned for what’s to come next!




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