Oct 25, 11
Boston Architectural College students revealed sustainable storefront design concepts, still under development, at an event last week at the Asian American Civic Association to mark the beginning of an innovative design competition in Chinatown. The teams’ inspiring, creative design concepts are precisely what this competition sought to highlight. On behalf of six small busienss owners, students are exploring building materials options, evaluating energy impacts and daylighting, thinking about overall design and signage, while keeping an eye on historic preservation.
Chinatown leaders who participated in the event spoke about the need to preserve and strengthen the strong cultural identity of the community and rich streetscape experience in the neighborhood’s business district. The student teams are commited to developing designs that reflect that cultural identity while improving the energy performance and competitive position of participating businesses.
Project partners, the Asian American Civic Association, Boston Architectural College, and Boston Redevelopment Authority celebrated the public private partnership and substantive opportunity for students to work closely with Chinatown business owners. And everyone applauded Chinatown for leading the charge on a new, innovative sustainability effort with city-wide implications. The design competition is supported by a grant from the Barr Foundation.
We look forward to watching these teams as their storefront renovation designs coalesce. A jury composed of Chinatown community leaders and design professionals will pick a winner in January. The winning business will receive $18,000 to help implement their design. The winning design team will receive a $2,000 award.
Dec 17, 10
The Sustainable Chinatown project is a partnership between the Boston Redevelopment Authority, the Asian American Civic Association, and Chinatown businesses. It is funded by The Barr Foundation. To date, over 60 small businesses in Chinatown have taken advantage of the City of Boston’s federally subsidized energy efficiency program, Renew Boston. The program will shift to sustainable waste management and explore renewable energy options for businesses next. Despite the image at right, Jackie Chan is not assisting with the installation of T5 lamps.
Chinatown is a vibrant community located close to Boston’s downtown area and at the foot of the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Packed with restaurants and retailers, the neighborhood continues to evolve with new developments and changing populations. The BRA initiated the Sustainable Chinatown project to help Chinatown businesses address the issues of rising energy, water, and solid waste management costs by providing business owners with practical and affordable sustainable business and energy solutions, while building long term sustainable business expertise awareness and capacity in the community.
The project has gained momentum in a neighborhood where many thought energy efficiency would be a tough sell due to language and cultural barriers. Chinatown’s business leaders have proven otherwise.
As part of the Sustainable Chinatown project launched in partnership with the Asian American Civic Association, about a dozen business owners in Boston’s Chinatown neighborhood will soon be linked with teams of architecture students and design professionals in a design competition to surface best practices with regard to sustainable storefronts.
Across Boston’s neighborhoods, hundreds of business owners, often working closely with design and financial assistance from the City of Boston’s ReStore program, have made improvements to their storefronts that help attract customers, improve streetscapes, and increase property values.
Now, with support from the Barr Foundation, the Boston Architectural College, and the Boston Redevelopment Authority, we are helping to bring sustainable design excellence to Chinatown’s famous business/restaurant district with a juried design competition in which the winner will receive funds to help underwrite the cost of construction.
What is a sustainable storefront? Our design teams will help answer that question, and will likely explore building envelope performance, materials, natural light, clean energy production, signage, storm water management and more in the process. Overall design excellence including streetscape context and historic preservation will weigh heavily.
Thanks to the BAC for providing project leadership and to the AACA for promoting the project generally and for providing cultural/language translation expertise.
Feb 04, 11
Sustainability and Business Competitiveness in Boston’s Largest Asian Neighborhood
Sustainable Chinatown is a public private partnership between the BRA’s GreenTech initiative, the Chinatown based Asian American Civic Association (AACA) and interested business owners in Chinatown. Many Chinatown business owners lack the resources or expertise to pursue sustainable business strategies that could help them trim expenses while reducing environmental impacts. The project will address business competitiveness issues – rising energy, water, and solid waste management costs – with practical and affordable solutions that help business owners reduce costs and environmental impacts, build long term sustainable business expertise capacity in a predominantly non-English speaking community, while helping the City of Boston meet its aggressive greenhouse gas reduction and renewable energy goals.
Identifying New Space Options for Promising Cleantech Start-ups
Many promising cleantech start-ups face a real estate “valley of death.” They can often afford a modest lease, but lack funds to finance an office or lab build out. GreenTech is pursuing a range of incubator and shared office/lab space options with an array of non-profit, public and private entities. An incubator would complement the affordable space now available in Boston’s Innovation District where a growing cleantech cluster has taken root. Incubator models vary, but core components include shared resources (e.g. kitchens, conference rooms), shared equipment and wi-fi, networking capacity, and the less tangible but often cited opportunity for intellectual cross pollination.