For those of you who are curious exactly how Richard Register's ideas would work in practice, here's what it could look like if Americans ever decided to retrofit their downtowns for true sustainability.
We know how to build the ecocity. It's easy if you want to: up-zone for more density and diversity in the centers and withdraw from sprawl. We are replete with tools.
The starting point is any downtown in America. Most likely, this will be a central place, dominated by the automobile. Buildings include malls, big boxes and parking garages, with wide, congested streets and generous parking lagoons nearby. Nothing is built with the pedestrian in mind, very little thought is given to accommodating natural flora and fauna, and smog is a common phenomenon.
Now rebuild it: reconceptualize the buildings while recycling building materials, uncover buried natural waterways, provide pedestrian infrastructure and mixed land uses so that every important need is within walking distance.
The end result: an ecocity downtown with waterways restored, bridges between buildings, pedestrian streets, solar active and passive energy technology and design, rooftop access to elevated "streets" and bridges between buildings. Streets are lined with fruit trees, energy demand is way down and space is saved for agricultural and natural areas outside the city. Don't be shocked when suburbanites and developers flock back to the city.
Via:: Ecocity Builders
Illustrations by Richard Register.