alright. mega 🧵 summarizing my closing keynote for vivre en ville's collectivites viables in montreal last week.

i crammed a lot in, probably too much - but was also trying to link it to presentations from prev. 2 days. unsure how successful i was, but it was fun.
the arc of my presentation is that in seattle, and likely most of north america, we do not build resource-light buildings, and have forgotten how to build livable districts. if you follow me here on the twitters, you know this is a *constant* topic of mine.
and we've also introduced a plethora of regulations, layers of bureaucracies, and processes designed to ensure we aren't building the most energy efficient buildings, the least carbon intensive ones, the most spatially efficient ones, the most livable ones, etc.
i talked a bit about the history of zoning in seattle - how it parallels most west coast cities, but also places like vancouver and toronto (montreal, not so much - at least not the island)

100 years ago there was no zoning in seattle. our first zoning code was intro'd in 1923
100 years ago you could build multifamily buildings everywhere. height limits were largely determined by street width and construction type. interestingly, this is pretty much the basis for modern zoning, starting w/ hobrecht plan in berlin. 22m street width = 22m height limit
1923 zoning ordinance saw intro of single family zoning, but it wasn't as pervasive today. the '23 ordinance was actually much more permissive than today's land use code.

taller height limits, multifamily housing was legal in every zone other than single family.
this was followed by downzones and more restrictive zoning ordinances. stuff i've been talking about for years. i wrote a good summation of history of seattle's zoning over on @sightline:…
'23 ordinance was ~25 pages. today's land use code is ~1,400 pages. convoluted maps. on top of this, have neighborhood design guidelines, design review processes etc that add even more layers. DR can add 6 months to 3 years to a project. that's a lot of design and holding costs.
and so today we have limited multifamily housing - in the largest city in the pacific northwest - to very little of the city. especially if we're talking about anything denser than townhomes. or on loud, dangerous, polluted arterials.
interestingly, frankfurt's 1935 zoning can be succinctly summarized in one page (note - it allows buildings in front + back!)

same for basel's today. of course, there are more complex maps accompanying these - but we have maps today as well. plus the ~1,400 pages of code
this same issue is paralleled in the building code for seattle.

1909 ordinance: 132 pages
1917 ordinance: 216 pages
today's ordinance: 3,276 pages
and so all of these things are compounding to exacerbate a deep housing crisis - which will only get worse as our region grows by over a third in the next 30 years, as i wrote here:…
paralleling this, there is also the climate crisis - flooding, heat waves, wildfire smoke. and we are wholly unprepared for any of it - both the construction industry, and city.

no passivhaus mandates.

few cooling centers.
one of the more interesting presentations last week was on the insurance industry really being a driver of change - and it being related to instances of flooding, with high costs correlated. rates going up, areas losing flood insurance coverage, etc.
and also our climate goals - which we continue to whiff for a number of reasons.

a big one being SDOT's inability to stop prioritizing cars everywhere. no pedestrian zones. poor bike infra. dangerous streets galore.
to make it worse, our station planning looks like this. we are not building in a manner conducive to livable ecodistricts. we are not making it easy to live without a car or drive down VMTs - the only way we'll hit our climate goals
but places like vienna are. so i talked about sonnwendviertel, and seestadt. dense redev of brownfields connected to transit, w/ ample social housing, schools, daycares, open space, jobs, parks, shops, etc.
i talked about how they don't zone like we do, how they use developer competitions to get high quality, green buildings that are cost effective, have good social mix, are highly livable. massive variety of unit sizes, amenities v. studio/1BRs we get here
about baugruppen, solidarity, what kinds of amenities those buildings can have - how residents can participate in planning process... and you get social housing that looks like this:
or commercial projects like stadtelefant - that sacrificed a floor of development for higher ceilings and better spatial/daylight/heat mitigation qualities. our processes don't allow for such tradeoffs.
about merwedekanaal in utrecht, and the radical diversity of mixing of uses, of social mixing, of sustainability being integrated into planning. of how even at the block level - a ridiculous mixing of tenure - CPOs, coops, social housing, market rate
and then went into some of the qualities that i think we should be copying in these ecodistricts for much more livable, climate resilient, and cost effective projects...

1. radically simplifying our regulations and processes to build climate-friendly housing
seattle passed an affordability upzone a few years ago, but it requires setbacks and weird modulation.

this adds surface area which means more materials, more embodied carbon, less energy efficiency, less durability.

also requires funky structure = ⬆️ embodied carbon, ⬆️ cost
about incorporating durability, flexibility, circularity, and resiliency like the dutch open buildings movement.

about single stair buildings that allow for cross ventilation (necc. in a warming world), light on multiple sides, sleeping on quieter part of building, diversity of unit types

i asked people to think about how our building regulations today in the US negatively affect cost effectiveness, resource efficiency, and quality of life
and how small scale projects would be infeasible without strategies like this:
and the need for passivhaus mandates, like the city of brussels undertook in the last decade - catapulting it from the worst energy code in europe, to one of best. now building incredible passivhaus projects, cost effectively…
about how our we need more 'dumb boxes' - but our zoning codes push us to have buildings that are massive. that have lots of surface area. massive setbacks. and so they are not compact and nearly as efficient as should be. carbon and economic cost.
about need to plan buildings for warming world. yes, even in seattle, we will likely need active cooling. passivhaus makes those loads much smaller/easier to retrofit!

stress testing our energy models
incentivizing and mandating active solar protection

about using buildings and urban planning to mitigate urban noise and create for calm ecodistricts, rather than focusing density on the loudest and most dangerous streets like we do in most of the US
about how our building codes aren't readily adaptable to new, decarbonized construction processes like panelized straw walls meeting passivhaus levels of efficiency and having almost no carbon footprint, like this:

and finally about how our zoning codes prevent the radical mixing of uses in productive cities we are seeing in other regions, as they tackle the need for jobs, the need for housing, the need for open space.…
all of this, so we end up w/ dense, resource efficient, livable, adaptive, family-friendly, car-light/free ecodistricts with ample open space, ample housing, and everything you need in a walkable area, proximal to transit. like on the right (vienna), instead of the left (seattle)

• • •

Missing some Tweet in this thread? You can try to force a refresh

Keep Current with wohnBAUMoffensive

wohnBAUMoffensive Profile picture

Stay in touch and get notified when new unrolls are available from this author!

Read all threads

This Thread may be Removed Anytime!


Twitter may remove this content at anytime! Save it as PDF for later use!

Try unrolling a thread yourself!

how to unroll video
  1. Follow @ThreadReaderApp to mention us!

  2. From a Twitter thread mention us with a keyword "unroll"
@threadreaderapp unroll

Practice here first or read more on our help page!

More from @holz_bau

11 Oct
listening in to a presentation by christian schantl from wiener wohnen talk about social housing in city of vienna 🥰
less than 1/3 of housing stock is pre-war Image
over eur460M in housing benefits Image
Read 24 tweets
1 Oct
'In total the proposed [Roosevelt Station] rezones would increase the neighborhood’s capacity for development by over 600 housing units'

climate. arson.…
'The zoned capacity of over 40 dwelling units / net acre is in line with the 20 – 75 dwelling units / net acre found in demonstrated models of great TOD around transit stations in similar neighborhoods'

i can't believe planners wrote this.
'The zoning originally approved by DPD would allow about 350 new units of housing in the area around the station above and beyond what the current zoning allows.'

i wonder why we can't meet our climate goals?…
Read 10 tweets
1 Oct
Good morning. This is stunning.

the wood connector is an x-fix, for CLT panels.

pretty damn elegant IMO

like butter. boom.

website for the x-fix manufacturer (surprise! it's austrian!) is here:
Read 4 tweets
29 Sep
would you live in a large family friendly cooperative, next to a park, with a variety of housing units (studios to 6-BR cluster apartments), with a car-free middle, playgrounds, massive balconies, and ample bike parking

like this?… Image
common rooms all over the place - can be used for music rooms, meetings. a larger room is available for use by wider community.

guest rooms so you don't need larger apartments...

starting to think development in this country is really bad, you guys...
the land is owned by the city of bern

the developer is a swiss non-profit

the project procurement was through a design competition, not a 'request for proposal'

the brief called out for high quality projects, innovation in construction, mix of unit types and affordability.
Read 5 tweets
29 Sep
the ROW is 66' wide at woodland park ave N

it's jarring that the buildings here are so low...

it used to be a streetcar ROW (i know what you're thinking - even more reason for multifamily buildings here...) ImageImage
but here's the thing about a 66' wide, rarely used ROW...

we could do 2 things

1. we could close it off and turn it into open space, with limited access for adjacent homeowners.

which would actually be kinda rad because you're in a valley here, have to climb to get to parks
2. you could copy/paste this energy positive, prefab-friendly, social housing down the middle of every block.

it's a whopping 29'-6" deep. this would leave space for cars on one side (12') and a massive, wide sidewalk on the other :)… Image
Read 5 tweets
26 Sep
the KPOe in graz pushed for the land at the hummel baracks (hummelkaserne) to be used for social housing.

there is now a massive mass timber passivhaus complex by sps architekten there…
also this mass timber stunner of a cooperative in graz...…
Read 4 tweets

Did Thread Reader help you today?

Support us! We are indie developers!

This site is made by just two indie developers on a laptop doing marketing, support and development! Read more about the story.

Become a Premium Member ($3/month or $30/year) and get exclusive features!

Become Premium

Too expensive? Make a small donation by buying us coffee ($5) or help with server cost ($10)

Donate via Paypal Become our Patreon

Thank you for your support!

Follow Us on Twitter!