Eco-quarters the new trend in city design

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The planned eco-quarter in the southeast of Paris got a boost with the development of one of France's first low-energy, solar-powered buildings, making the 13th arrondissement (or district) the latest in a line of eco-quarters from Copenhagen to Abu Dhabi.


 

The planned ecologically friendly quarter in the southeast of Paris moved one step closer to completion; with the announcement on July 20 that property developers ICADE Promotion and design company MVRDV have reached an agreement to develop one of the first new buildings.

The building, which will be located in the 13th arrondissement, will be one of the first low-energy buildings in France. The building will cost an estimated €35 million to develop, however once it is finished, it will consume little electricity and have an energy production capacity of 200,000 KWH per year. Construction on the building is expected to start in 2011. 

The building will be located on a former rail embankment and occupy slightly less than 4,150 square meters, giving the total building an energy usage of 49KWH per square meter per year. The wood on the outside of the building will be sourced from sustainable forests in France and energy will be provided by a series of roof mounted solar panels.

Once the building and other developments in the quarter are completed, the area will become the latest in a line of so called eco-cities or eco-quarters.

Other examples of eco-cities or quarters include the Vauban quarter in Freiburg, Germany, where the 2000 dwellings in the area are all high environmental quality buildings or energy plus houses. Vauban's 5000 residents also ensured that the quarter restricts car traffic and prioritizes more environmentally friendly methods of transport such as trams.

In the UK, the Beddington Zero Energy Development, or BedZED, is the largest example of a sustainable community. The houses in the area are designed to reduce heating and water wastage, while the local residents ensure that they make sustainable lifestyle choices, such as driving less.

Other eco-quarters exist throughout Europe in areas including Malmö and Stockholm in Sweden and Copenhagen in Denmark; there is also an already developed eco-quarter in France in Saint-Jean des Jardins in the town of Chalon-sur-Saöne in Burgundy. Developers in Abu Dhabi are also considering building an environmentally friendly area in which cars will be banned.

Small sustainable eco-quarters such as the ones in Europe help to reduce the environmental damage by minimizing fuel usage and associated emissions; cities which are home to 50 percent of the world's population produce 70 percent of greenhouse gases.

MVRDV and the Paris developments can be followed on twitter at http://twitter.com/mvrdv.

Examples of MVRDV's hypothetical design concepts can also be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/mvrdvrotterdam.

 

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