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The Low2No project is designed to help transition our cities to a low carbon future. We aim to balance economy, ecology and society through strategic investments and interventions in the built environment.

16-20. Week in Review

It's been a busy four weeks:

  • The design team delivered the schematic design document set.
  • The client team pored over the drawings and Arup's very useful Basis of Design documents to find out just what the last year of work has lead to and where changes/clarifications need to be made.
  • Comment sets were issued to the design team by each client.

The design team has now taken the comments and begun the arduous task of incorporating them into the design to produce the final schematic design of the Low2No block. This level of design basically locks-in the overall design of the project (massing, structures, MEP, etc) and its performance targets. The project will soon shift into a mode more focused on implementation with upcoming goals including permitting and detailed costing.

Design of the "public bits" of the project has also been ramping up. Facades, landscaping, community areas and retail are all taking shape in very exciting ways! Check out some of the landscaping diagrams in the next post!

Low2No Camp on the ferry back to Helsinki [Demos Helsinki 2010]
Low2No Camp on the ferry back to Helsinki [Demos Helsinki 2010]

In other news, our Energy Programme has initiated a project with Demos Helsinki and Experientia called Low2No Camp (their blog is here). The aim is to mobilize a group of city activists who are already carrying out actions which support low-carbon living, food, and services and attempt to develop groundbreaking projects in the spirit of Low2No. The project began mid May in Berlin at the DMY Berlin International Design Festival.

Low2No Camp in Berlin [Demos Helsinki 2010]
Low2No Camp in Berlin [Demos Helsinki 2010]

In order to kick-start the projects, a roundtable will be held in the coming months, gathering various stakeholders to whom the ideas will be presented with the hope of mobilizing local businesses to start developing opportunities for sustainable urban living.

Also, last week I participated in a panel discussion on integrating design into city planning at the New Finnish Design Scenarios event held in NYC and hosted by the Finnish Consulate. Together with Rick Bell (Executive Director AIA NY), Hannu Kähönen (CEO of Creadesign), David Resnik (Deputy Commissioner NYC DDC) and moderator Peter MacKeith (Associate Dean, School of Design and Visual Arts Washington University), we tried to tease out some similarities between NYC and Helsinki (of which there seem to be few!) and share our experiences working in the often difficult city planning machinery. One theme that received the most attention was the degree of control that cities exercise over their spatial evolution. NYC seems to rely more on the carrot than the stick, incentivizing developers and architects to pursue spatial, social and environmental goals by providing special conditions that are favorable to their bottom lines. The City of Helsinki, on the other hand, rigidly defines the "areas" in which an architect or developer can work, carefully circumscribing what is possible in the city. For a panel interested in introducing/preserving design in city planning, you can imagine which side we favored. 

May 25th, 2011

Posted by: Justin W. Cook

Category: Weeknotes