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4 Bay Area Cities Named "Resilient" by Rockefeller Foundation

Aerial view of the port of Oakland, California. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

The four Bay Area cities of Alameda, Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco are among 11 U.S. cities chosen for the first group of The Rockefeller Foundation’s “100 Resilient Cities: Centennial Challenge.” The 33 first-group winners were selected from applications submitted from across the world, and they will receive support and resources to create and implement plans for increased urban resilience over the next three years.

Bay Area Future Buildings-- Apple's new "spaceship" campus and Oakland's Coliseum City

Rendering of Apple Campus 2, Image Courtesy of Apple

The Bay Area has two up-and-coming building projects that will be quite the spectacle once they are finished. The first--Apple's new headquarters--promises to be the next home for the company for decades to come. The second, a planned massive redevelopment of East Oakland, Calif. called Coliseum City, claims to be the largest transit-oriented development project in California.

A "green" Apple campus

The late Steve Jobs had a vision for Apple's new headquarters, and about two and a half years later, this vision is coming to life as the Cupertino City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday Oct. 15 to allow the company to get to work on this project. The main four-story circular building (called Apple Campus 2) will be 2.8 million square feet and accommodate up to 12,000 employees.

Why You Should Really Consider Transit-Oriented Development

San Francisco, Image Courtesy of Steve Morgan, Wikimedia Commons

Let us face it...people are moving away (literally) from the idea of suburbs. Many Americans, especially young people, want to live where they can easily get to work, and have access to local hotspots and businesses. Therefore the idea of transit-oriented development (TOD) is very appealing because development near a transit station offers a mix of housing, employment, retail, and transportation choices.

"TOD is development located within a quarter-to half-mile radius of a transit station that offers housing, employment, shopping, and transportation choices within a neighborhood or business district." (EPA, Office of Sustainable Communities Smart Growth Program, in a report called "Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit-Oriented Development".

Accessibility to public transit can lower household costs for families by giving them an alternative to driving, and it can give people more access to jobs throughout the region.

News Round-up: What's New in San Francisco Development and Real Estate

Image courtesy of flickr, Sue1454

The real estate market in San Francisco is booming.

San Francisco Business Times reports "What glut? Renters flock to new S.F. apartment towers," as about 1500 new apartments have become available over the last two months. These apartments, located from Mission Bay to Central Market to the Mission, have rents hitting $4.50 a square foot, or higher. So far, there have been enough renters to go around. For example, phase two of Trinity Properties' 1,800-unit Central Market Street development has from 60-72% occupancy across the different towers. Employees from tech firms in the Bay Area, including companies such as Twitter, Yammer, One Kings Lane, Google, and Yahoo, are providing about 30 percent of renters at Trinity.

The 5 Objectives of Great Building Design

Tampa General Hospital; Image Courtesy of flickr, Photomatt28

 Everyone wants to design a cost-effective building (especially if you are the owner). But buildings are more than just the space they take up. They can house our lives and be our homes, surround us when we are sick and in the hospital, or be the place where we (or our children) sit and listen to a teacher drone on and on.

1. Economical

How can you estimate the true cost of a building when you are designing it? Well, there are many parameters that can determine cost-effectiveness, and so it requires a life-cycle perspective. This perspective considers the costs and benefits of the project over the building's economic life. A building design is cost-effective if its benefits are equal to alternative designs, but have a lower whole life cost. A whole life cost of a building can include the initial design and construction cost, and the operations and maintenance over the life of the building.

5 Reasons Why You Should Build in Fremont

Artist's rendering of downtown Fremont; Image courtesy of the City of Fremont

1. Because the City of Fremont wants you to

Downtown Vision

Consider it an open invitation to you, from the City of Fremont. The City has a vision to build a vibrant downtown with new businesses and development, and to reward you, they have lowered the development impact fee by 50% for the downtown area (10% reduction in impact fees citywide), and they only collect impact fees at the time of occupancy, rather than at the time of building permit issuance. The Fremont Downtown Community Plan is focused on the area of approximately 110 acres that is located in central Fremont and bounded by Fremont Boulevard, Mowry Avenue, Paseo Padre Parkway, and Walnut Avenue.

The top 3 ways to make a building "green"

SF Green BuildingGreen is the color of the grass, some people's favorite color, and the color when you look at light between the wavelengths of about 520 and 570 nanometers.  When we talk about the process of "green" building, we are talking about using environmentally responsible and resource-efficient practices when we build something.

This requires everyone's cooperation on the team, including the architects and designers, the civil and structural engineers, the developers, and the clients. Ultimately, the concept of "green" building extends throughout the life-cycle of a building, from site planning, to design construction, through renovation, and ultimately to demolition.

The SF-Oakland Bay Bridge: Is the new Bridge ready for the next earthquake?

Bay Bridge Procession; Image courtesy of Caltrans

After nearly 12 years of construction and $6.4 billion dollars later, the old East Span of the Bay Bridge was closed forever to make way for the new East Span.

The unveiling on September 3 signaled the end of a story that started 24 years ago, when the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake caused a 250-ton section of the Eastern Span to collapse, killing one driver and seriously injuring the passenger of the vehicle.

The bridge was repaired within a month of the earthquake, but a panel of seismic experts concluded that the entire bridge required seismic safety improvements--the San Francisco side of the Bridge (the West Span) would require seismic retrofit work, and that the entire Oakland side of the Bridge (the Eastern Span) should be completely replaced. Groundbreaking on the new Eastern Span occurred in January of 2002.