Urban Planning & Process

The urban planning discipline provides a description of the regulatory and governance strategy and lessons learned to reviewing, approving, and permitting the EcoBlock model in cities. As the project develops, we will demonstrate the ways in which common or available planning, building, and public works tools and strategies can be applied to facilitate the consideration of EcoBlock projects. Recommendations will be structured by department type, allowing the consolidation and focus on tools and codes specific to each municipal function. This work is specific to the laws and standards used in California, but the principles can be applied outside of California as well.

Urban Planning Background: City of Oakland and Fruitvale district

This map from 1869 shows Fruitvale Avenue (far right side) to the east of the City of Oakland, with undeveloped tracts and Sausal Creek coursing from the Oakland hills to the sea.

Map of Fruitvale (1869). Source: UC Berkeley Library.
Map of Fruitvale today (approximately zipcode 94601). Source: Google Maps

In this zipcode, 57% of houses were built before 1950 (20% before 1939). The average age of the properties on the Fruitvale EcoBlock site is 1935; the average lot size is 4000 square feet.

Planning Context: General Plan

During Phase 1, the research team developed multiple scenarios for the microgrid design, for energy efficient retrofits, and for water efficient scenarios. The Community-Scale Zero Net Energy (ZNE) Retrofit Master Plan is a synthesis of the selective application of Energy Efficiency Retrofits, refined by estimates acquired from the detailed energy audit in Phase 2, and the application of Water Scenarios. See the Phase 1 Report for full details.

The microgrid design will provide homes with a community PV system that will be tied to a block-scale DC microgrid containing a shared battery storage system and shared EV chargers. Each home will have a DC/AC inverter, connected from the DC microgrid to the existing AC load center and a separate DC circuit to new DC appliances, as available on a selective basis.

Community-scale ZNE retrofit master plan. Source: Skidmore, Owings & Merill, LLP (SOM)
DC Solar/Storage/Electric Vehicle Microgrid with Energy Efficiency Retrofits and AC/DC Houses. Water Efficiency and Rainwater Capture and Use at House Scale.

Explore other EcoBlock disciplines:

Design and Construction
Business and Finance