The Most Sustainable Future Community in the US

Treasure IslandTreasure Island is a 400 acre island built from fill dredged from the bay for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. It is connected to land by the Bay Bridge on both sides leading from San Francisco to Oakland. Loosing money due to the depression and WWII, it was converted into a naval base in 1940. In 1996 it was decommissioned and opened to public control. Today San Francisco’s Department of the Environment is transforming it into the most sustainable community in the US by 2020.

The streets are going to be reoriented at an angle to maximize solar and minimize wind. It will include 6,000 units of high-density housing, without any single detached residences. Thirty percent of the housing will be affordable. The island is a 13 minute ferry trip from San Francisco and all the residential housing will be within a 12 minute walk from the ferry building. Also, a free electric shuttle will be provided to get around.

There will be restaurants, a ferry terminal, and a 20-acre organic farm in the middle. Also located on the island will be an ecological educational and art park, shoreline park, wind farm, and plenty of green space in the forms of parkland and runoff-filtering wetlands. They would like to produce more energy than they use.street-orientation.jpg

Jennifer Kass, from the Dept. of the Environment said the average American city requires 27 acres per person, or 6 planets worth; Treasure Island is planned to use 9 acres per person which is about 2 planets worth. She said, “The idea is that this should be carbon-neutral. Well we know that’s not going to happen tomorrow, but if we don’t have that goal, then it will never happen.”

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors approved the plan this last December. Planning for the redevelopment of the island started in 2001 through a request for proposals. Skidmore, Owning and Merrill (SOM) lead the design team for the development, supported by two local San Francisco firms, SMWM and CMG Landscape Architects. In the development phase, Arup was brought in to advise on transportation planning, site infrastructure and sustainability strategies. Also, William McDonough co-author of “Cradle to Cradle” has consulted on the project. Scheduled completion is planned for 2022 with the first new residents occupying buildings as early as 2013.

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6 thoughts on “The Most Sustainable Future Community in the US”

  1. It’s going to be under water once the oceans rise. Good place to build the “most sustainable community in the US by 2020”??????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. While imperfect (based originally on damaging the sea floor), this project is an encouraging example. It was here on PlanetSave that I obtained the link to hear from the city staffer in charge of the project’s sustainability. The whole thing gives us reason to hope, especially in the United States!

  3. Any word on whether they’re going to expand public transportation to and from the island? Right now the buses are pretty scarce, from what I know. And with the residents presumably working outside TI, I’d imagine that creates a good deal of car traffic. Is the island itself walkable? Funny, that I live so close, but have neve had any reason to go there.

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