The Sustainable Base Reuse Institute

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Attainable Village


Project objective: To create a reproducible model for sustainable and active living that demonstrates the benefits and possibilities of designing health and harmony into our built environments that is priced to reach the average homebuyer.

1. SBRI's Role

a. Provide "sustainable community" guidelines in compliance with the Fort Ord Reuse Plan
b. Establish policies and procedures for replicable models
c. Liaison to FORA
d. Liaison to local municipalities
e. Assign LEED trained staff
f. Provide guidelines/project implementation


2. Characteristics of/guidelines for the Attainable Village

a. Attainable (see glossary)
b. Sustainable materials and systems (see glossary) including living systems architecture (green roofs, living walls, hedges) and sustainable technology (rainwater collection, gray water systems, etc) High LEED rating
c. Collaborative planning process (community charrettes, etc.)
d. Active living oriented (walkable streets, bike paths, linked to activity nodes, green belts, etc.)
e. Kid friendly routes to playgrounds, schools, bus stops, etc
f. Access to public transportation (build bus stops so that they form tiny centers of public life; build them as gateways to other neighborhoods, work communities, parts of town. Locate them so that they work together with several other activities at least a newsstand, maps, outdoor shelter, seats, and in various combinations, corner grocery, coffee bar, food stands, tree places, special road crossings, public bathrooms, squares…
g. Planned outdoor spaces-squares/public green spaces/pavilion/ promenades/arbors (places to gather, for festivals, music and other community activities)
h. Community gardens - for beauty, activity as well as food production and education (school kids could maintain sections of garden) Adventure playgrounds for kids and adults
i. Public Art: (Sculpture gardens, benches, bus stops, pavilions, town squares are all opportunities for art to be displayed.)
j. Mixed-use: (retail, office, services, day care, etc.)
k. Multi-generational/multi-cultural /mixed income demographic
l. Family oriented- different types and sizes of families: two parent with children, single parent, single, roommates with visiting children, live in extended family, etc
m. Degrees of public-ness: "Make a clear distinction between three kinds of homes-those on quiet back areas, those on busy streets, and those that are more or less in between. Make sure those on back areas are on twisting paths, and that these houses are themselves physically secluded; make sure that the more public houses are on busy streets with people passing by all day long and that the houses themselves are relatively exposed to the passers-by. The in between houses may then be located on the paths half way between the other two. Give every neighborhood about equal number of these kind of homes."
n. Elegance/aesthetics: Design and quality must not be sacrificed
o. Non-modular architecture: "Nature is never modular. Nature is full of almost similar units (waves, raindrops, blades of grass)-but though the units are of one kind all are alike in their broad structure, no two are ever alike in detail…. In all this sameness we never feel oppressed by sameness. In all this variety, we never feel lost, as we do in the presence of variety we cannot understand."
p. Views wherever possible (no views onto backs of buildings or alleys-unless greenways)
q. Water wise landscaping
r. Limit parking (to encourage alternative methods to transportation)
s. "Green" streets: paving stones versus asphalt for secondary roads and driveways allows for groundwater to replenish
t. Bike sheds/storage lockers for recreational gear (with service area; air pump, etc.)
u. EV hookups

3. Benefits to the community

a. Health - so studies on health benefits: village residents can be monitored for measurable health benefits from 'active living' and sustainable systems.
b. Learning/Outreach: education in "active living" and sustainable design and planning- in-school educational programs, college student internships and research opportunities, interactive workshops and more
c. Public art and culture (local, small music, dancing and other performance opportunities)
d. Tours: for the public, policy makers, media representatives, school children
e. Preservation of natural resources
f. Revenues: from visitors to the area for special interests-active living, sustainable architecture, public art and recreation
g. Spin-off industries created for reusable materials from base
h. Jobs/housing balance
i. Aesthetics (Route 1 Corridor)


4. Regional Opportunities

a. Fort Ord Base Conversion
b. AIAMB Concepts Competition Designs
c. Central Coast climate/ Salinas Valley
d. Access to University and College Campuses
e. Access to open spaces
f. Marina Municipal Airport
g. Access to bike path and protected park Lands
h. Veterans' Cemetery
i. East Garrison/Parker Flats
j. Neighboring regional attractions: Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, Pebble Beach, Carmel Valley, etc.


5. Fiscal Feasibility

a. Feasibility analysis
b. Pro forma
c. Financial plan
d. Appraisals/estimates of value
e. Fiscal analysis
f. Site plans


6. Possible Alliances/Partnerships (incomplete list)

a. FORA
b. Surface Transportation Policy Project
c. TAMC
d. AMBAG
e. BLM
f. City of Marina
g. City of Seaside
h. County of Monterey
i. Monterey County Health
j. Marina Arts Council Arts District
k. Carpenter's Union/Joint office project
l. LandWatch
m. Cal. State Parks
n. Used Building Materials industry Association
o. Rising Leaf
p. Monterey Regional Waste Management District

7. Distinctions/ Glossary

a. Affordable: Note "affordable" is defined by law, basically, it is a house or apartment that is affordable to someone with income that ranges from 60% of county median income to 120% of median. This runs from Very Low Income (60%) to Low Income (80%) to Moderate (120%). The current county median income (family of 4) is $53,600. What is affordable? The rule of thumb is no more than 30% of income should go to housing so that a family can also afford food, healthcare, childcare, etc., so it results in a formula by which "affordable" can be calculated for each county. The next level is not defined by law, we are calling it "workforce" housing, housing that school teachers, nurses, fire personnel, police officers, bank tellers, hotel workers and others who have steady jobs but are squeezed by the high cost of housing can acquire, but who are not eligible for low and moderate income housing programs already in existence. One could use various mechanisms as thresholds for this category, possibly 130% of median, but it has been agreed by local policy makers to consider a purchase price for a house of below $300,000 as the appropriate level at this time. This is well below the median price of housing in Monterey County. The Attainable Village project would be a mix of affordable and workforce housing.
b. Sustainable Development: "a community designed in such a way that its ways of life, business economy, physical structures and technologies so not interfere with nature's inherent ability to sustain life." Sustainable means simply to use those resources that renew themselves, and to use them no faster than they can renew themselves. First defined in the Bruntland Commission's Our Common Future in 1987: "development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of further generations to meet their own needs." "Sustainable implies balance and permanence…a balance between renewable resourcescontinuously available locally and local consumption patterns.; a balance between maintaining the environment in good health and the needs of the human community which lives within it."
Everything from renewable resources, recycling of wastes, reuse of wood and materials, recapture of storm water runoff, but also, economic sustainability, job replacement and creation, reduction of health risk factors, stress and anxiety, siting of land uses, and using and encouraging the talent of untapped resources, children, seniors, disadvantaged groups.
c. Attainable: Sustainable + affordable -Incrementally priced housing products that range form products to attract the average first time buyers through satisfying their lifestyle needs, throughout the spectrum of their life. All this within a price structure that allows the average homeowner to switch products to others that they can afford when needed.
d. Urban Village: "a form of development that combines compactness, infill and revitalization, transportation options, mixed use and affordable housing. A central feature of the urban village concept is that locations of jobs should be closely linked to housing."
e. Active Living: "…a way of life that integrates physical activity into daily routines. The goal is to accumulate at least 30 minutes of activity each day." A range of interactive designs that support the physical development needs of the average first time home owner/resident which satisfy their lifestyle needs throughout the spectrum of their life.
f. Resources - (water, park land, people, etc.):
g. Smart growth: A set of principles designed to counteract the phenomenon of urban sprawl. Principles include: creating a range of housing opportunities and choices, walkable neighborhoods, encouraging community and stakeholder collaboration, fostering distinctive, attractive places with a strong sense of place, mixed land use, variety of transportation sources, etc.
h. Livable cities: characteristics include walkability, architectural uniqueness, meandering streets leading to interesting shops, galleries, restaurants, human scale streets, cozy homes, etc.
i. Community: multi-generational, multi-cultural, mixed income. (Diversity) also communication, safety, connectedness, and democracy.
j. Public Art: Places and opportunities for public art include: way finding systems, public transit shelters, kiosks, gardens, public seating, trash receptacles, retaining walls, city gateways, lighting, fences, street crossings, playgrounds, water features, drinking fountains, pedestrian bridge, foot paths, street banners, mosaic tile features, signs, bike racks, etc.
k. Outreach programs:
l. Sustainable materials (especially reused materials from base building deconstruction; locally derived or regionally manufactured materials)
m. Environment:
n. Elegant:
o. Biomimicry:

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The Fort Ord Base Reuse Plan, the document guiding the redevelopment of the former Fort Ord, incorporates the concepts of alternative transportation, mixed-use development, sustainability, environmental conservation and affordability. Design Principle 5: encourage sustainable practices and environmental conservation, requires that "portions of the former base will be developed into a mixed-use community which provides housing and employment opportunities, reducing the need for long distance commuting throughout the region (p 9)." The Circulation Goal for the Reuse Plan Elements states that the Reuse Plan should "create and maintain a balanced transportation system, including pedestrian ways, bikeways, transit and streets, to provide for the safe and efficient movement of people and goods to and throughout the former Fort Ord (p 17)." (Ginny)
Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language.
Christopher Alexander, A Pattern Language.
Fritjof Capra
(Sim Van der Ryn & Peter Calthorpe, Sustainable Communities: A new Design Synthesis for Cities, Suburbs and Towns).
HUD and the Urban Landscape Institute Report: "The Affordable community; Growth, Change and Choice in the '80's (Sim Van der Ryn & Peter Calthorpe, Sustainable Communities: A new Design Synthesis for Cities, Suburbs and Towns).
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Active Living by Design Grant
In general, the education and school outreach components would consist of a week-long unit that elementary school, middle school and high school teachers could use on sustainable development. With respect to elementary school aged students, the 4th grade is the grade level for which this type of project is most appropriate. The fourth grade is an important year for students to be learning all about California history, the missions, and native California indigenous tribes. In their study of California native peoples many teachers involve their students by having them compare their own lives with those of native California indigenous children. This type of focus readily lends itself to the question of sustainability, living in harmony with the environment, and the potential for environmental stewardship in their community. After designing, or perhaps reconstructing, a California community as a class, based both on what they have learned about California native peoples and after brainstorming about what they consider to be sustainable in as many ways as possible (SBRI could provide the teacher with a checklist and glossary of terms) a district wide 4th grade field trip to Fort Ord could follow. At Fort Ord the students could give the FORA project a grade and write a their own report cards on the FORA project as a check for overall understanding of what it takes to develop and be a responsible member of a sustainable community.
Middle School and High School students could study the question of sustainability and the environment in greater depth, by covering natural cycles such as the water and carbon cycles, learning about man-made impacts to the environment such as street oil runoff, carbon emissions and global warming, ozone depletion, ozone smog pollution, acid rain, landfill problems, etc. After a field trip to FORA, these students could draw and design their own sustainable communities -based on a map of Fort Ord- what they would develop there, or actually build a rough model. (Erin)


last updated: June 2005

100 12th Street, Building 2902
Marina, California 93933
Phone: 831-915-5106
Fax: 831-883-3675
Email: sbri@basereuse.org