The world’s first high desert biome eco-district is planned for Reno, NV.
The initial phases have just been proposed by architect and developer Don J Clark Group in conjunction with the landscape architects Office of Cheryl Barton. A new $1.2 billion purpose-built neighborhood will transform West 2nd District in the heart of Reno.
By taking a series of underutilized lots, the project hopes to jumpstart an ecologically driven neighborhood with 1,900 housing units, 4,500 square feet of office space and 250,000 square feet of retail. Nearly 30 buildings will be included in the space and provide market-rate and workforce housing.
Courtesy of the Office of Cheryl Barton
Construction is aimed to connect to the surrounding nature by integrating the district’s street life. The new district will be bounded by the Truckee River on its southern edge, which is a habitat to many different species of flora and fauna in the area. The offices of OCB are looking at this implementation in biome-specific ways.
“We are very interested in the authenticity of the landscape and in bringing the larger ecology into the city,” Cheryl Barton said.
Barton has included the planting of over 300 trees across the 17-acre site in the proposed plan. The firm also aims to establish and expand a sense of pedestrian comfort in the streets by reducing the heat-island effect. An urban heat island is an urban area or metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human activities. Additionally, OCB is embedding expanses of vertical and horizontal gardens throughout the plan, including rooftops.
“We are taking an artistic approach to the paseo design – there will be broad, shallow channels [embedded in the paseos] that can be used for patio seating regularly and, during the rainy season, can collect water.”
The district will take full advantage of as many natural resources as possible, including stormwater sequestration and wastewater treatment. It will also employ the latest in digital technology to monitor and control these adaptive systems. These technical components along with the efforts to improve this streetscape will work together to create a beautiful new experience
“Landscapes are a system like any other: It’s all about understanding the climate, the water, the soil and the connectivity of that system, and bringing that understanding into the public realm,” stressed Barton.
West 2nd District is also expected to feed Reno’s booming tech industry. The area is incredibly affordable, not to mention only a 45-minute flight from Silicon Valley, so it is no wonder that Reno has undergone exponential regional and economic growth. Tesla operates its Gigafactory and Apple operates cloud-computing servers in the region as well.
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