Friday, December 15, 2006
[New York week, final post ...]
The biggest land use buzz in midtown Manhattan concerns the new Bank of America building under construction near Times Square. The 54-story tower is being touted as the city’s “greenest” office building –- it will include large amounts of recycled materials, will reuse rainwater, and will flush urinals with small amounts of oil instead of water, among other things. Many of the features required variances in building and zoning codes –- something that many non-traditional building plans (including new urbanist mixed used buildings) have to take into account.
A next step toward a “greener” world of office buildings would be to translate these environmental ideas into requirements. The federal Clean Water Act, for example, imposes upon most point source polluters the requirement to use some “best technology” to decrease their water pollution. A new generation of land use laws might require a similar series of detailed “best practices,” based upon environmental features, upon new office buildings.