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'Green districts’ touted as urbanization’s future

The Upton neighborhood of Northampton, England promotes itself as a haven of sustainable living. (Steve Tiesdell Legacy Collection/flickr/cc)

There’s a new buzzword in urban planning circles: “green districts.” In an essay for the global consultancy McKinsey, Shannon Bouton, David Newsome, and Jonathan Woetzel spotlight ”sustainable” neighborhoods that maximize energy efficiency while minimizing waste.

Green districts are densely populated urban areas that feature transit-oriented and mixed-use development. They emphasize designs and technologies that limit both pollution and consumption of resources, the article says.

While upfront construction costs are higher in green districts than conventional ones, operating costs are lower, the authors found. They see these districts as key to urbanization in places such as China and India where meteoric population growth is prompting unchecked development.

EcoDistricts, a nonprofit based in Portland, Oregon, says that green neighborhoods should be “small enough to innovate quickly, and big enough to have a meaningful impact,” the article notes. Meanwhile, the U. S. Green Building Council, which rates the energy efficiency of buildings, has developed a grading system for sustainable neighborhoods. 

McKinsey & Company

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