Urban Environmental Policy
In the new urban age, cities are the future.
Environmental stewardship is integral to how we accommodate growth, our quality of life, continued economic prosperity, social equity, and a global environmental responsibility. Livable cities provide the platform for supporting population, human and economic activity, health, the urban environment, and function with the smallest possible “ecological footprint” by using land and resources most efficiently, minimizing waste and pollution, providing food security, and reducing or eliminating climate-changing greenhouse gas emissions. Innovative strategies and best practices are available (with measurable results) to provide the “building blocks” for greening cities that have been employed in the U.S. and globally. Urban Environmental Policy is foundational to the Steinbrueck Urban Strategies practices.
Sustainable Development and Green Infrastructure
New development should not repeat unhealthy, wasteful and inefficient practices of the past.
Sustainable Development is about optimizing performance in the built environment, and the universal sustainability principle of not borrowing finite resources from future generations. It can be achieved through building repurposing, reducing or eliminating waste, reuse of common materials, renewables, and the efficient use water, energy. The result: heathy human environments, reduced operating costs, lower life cycle costs, and premium, environmentally responsible development.
On a larger scale, Green Infrastructure - everything from streets, to public utilities, resources, and green open space, is about optimizing performance of cities and how they function to benefit people, wildlife and natural ecosystems. Rather than polluting and depleting, green infrastructure uses eco-services to sustain air, water, and natural systems as the platform for healthy social and economic activity.
Older, poor performing cities can be retooled, and new eco-cities can be planned and designed to improve function, such as Complete Streets and urban transportation systems ecologically designed to improve mobility for all modes of travel, and reduce storm runoff. Complete Compact Neighborhoods reduce reliance on the car and make it easier for people to walk, bike or use transit for getting to work, and meeting their daily needs. The benefits of walkable neighborhoods are better health, stronger communities, improved public safety, reduced pollution, and lower infrastructure costs.
Architecture, Urban Design, and Planning
We believe truly good architecture delights and lifts the human spirit.
The design of buildings in the urban environment should not only respond appropriately to the context, but should be enduring, of graceful quality, highly functional and environmentally responsible. Likewise, older buildings, when repurposed,can be some of the most sustainable of green buildings. Steinbrueck Urban Strategies sees design excellence in the built environment and good community planning as the most effective means to advance mission, and when recognized as such, can achieve break-through community acceptance. Steinbrueck Urban Strategies works closely with the project team and leadership to improve the quality and functionality of design toward these ends, and use the power of design to drive mission.
Land Use and Zoning
Most city zoning codes in the U.S. are an accretion of nearly 100 years of regulation, layer upon layer, intended to stop unwanted development from occurring, rather than a tool to support and promote desirable kinds of development.
Rigid and prescriptive zoning codes of most American cities today, where uses are typically separated and limits arbitrarily set, are archaic and lack the necessary flexibility for achieving performance goals for livable, walkable, and sustainable cities of the 21st century. Steinbrueck Urban Strategies understands these barriers to innovation and creativity in the built environment, and the need for greater flexibility by zoning for a mix of uses, performance, and form based zoning. We have worked to redress unreasonable and irrational land use constraints, and re-drafted outdated codes to make the regulatory structure more responsive to urban needs for livable communities.
Cities that erase the past become soulless.
Cultural heritage contributes enormously to sense of place, neighborhood identity, and authenticity. Some of the most sustainable buildings are those already existing. With the preservation and repurposing of older buildings, use of resources and materials is maximized and the embedded energy maintained, rather than lost to landfill or reproduced. Integrating old with new, preservation creates more lively neighborhoods and is a sustainable, smart growth strategy with cultural, economic, and environmental benefits.
Government, Public Policy, and Legislative Process
Cities are incubators of innovation.
For cities to thrive, growth and change should work to improve quality of life and livability, not diminish it. With good leadership, the urban environment can be a laboratory for testing innovative approaches to comprehensive planning, land use, green infrastructure, and development. There is a role for government in advancing positive change, and it often begins with a new public policy, inspired by community, established through the legislative process. Steinbrueck understands how to get results through the legislative process, and has a strong record of accomplishment in establishing innovative urban policy at all levels of government.
Steinbrueck Urban Strategies, LLC is licensed in the State of Washington, insured, and pre-approved by the City of Seattle for professional services under the city’s small business Consultant Roster Program in five professional service categories:
Architectural Services, Urban Design, and Planning - Urban planning studies, analysis, evaluation, monitoring, recommendations, design, plans, specifications and estimates, plan review, permitting, reports, construction administration and inspection, and expert witness;
Environmental Assessment - Environmental Assessments, Phases I and II and expert advice on Phase III, NEPA / SEPA statements and evaluations, compliance consulting and auditing, media assessments (air, water, sediment, etc. evaluations), and expert witness;
Public Involvement and Community Outreach;
Anthropology and Tribal Issues - Traditional Cultural Properties (TCP) and archaeological surveys, inventory, analysis, monitoring, documentation, management plan preparation and management, tribal negotiations, and
Historic Resource Inventories, assessments, impacts, rehabilitation, and design for re-use.
Our expertise draws from a broad range of direct experience in government, public policy, scholarly academic research, community engagement, and professional practice in the design disciplines. We bring the right mix of specialized skills, talent, and creative thinking necessary to overcome barriers, solve problems, and get the job done. Our guiding principles are to be purposeful, innovative, best practiced, research-based, and to identify opportunities to advance mission sustainably. We believe strongly in the value of collaboration and teamwork. Steinbrueck Urban Strategies routinely works with multi-disciplinary consultant teams assembled specifically to suit the project requirements. We understand that meaningful community engagement is often key to the most successful outcomes.
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