January 10, 2008
Model For Turning Treasure Island Into A "Green City Of The Future"
At first there was a rendering and master plan for the future of Treasure Island. Now there’s a model and more geeky details (which we happen to love) emerging.
According to Popular Mechanics, "[a]fter ground is broken in 2009, Treasure Island will become a testbed for the newest ideas in energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management and low-impact living." But as a plugged-in reader notes, "[s]eems like [Treasure Island] is keeping a low profile if we're breaking ground in but a year."
Oh, and to which our reader also alludes, think 13,500 people who will either be living or working within what might be considered walking distance of a Treasure Island ferry terminal.
∙ Why Treasure Island Is the Super-Green City of the Future [Popular Mechanics]
∙ The (SOM) Master Plan For San Francisco’s Treasure Island [SocketSite]
∙ And Of Course, How Might It Affect Property Values Around The Bay? [SocketSite]
First Published: January 10, 2008 3:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
The design seems to have developed into a much more attractive idea than what was originally floated around. The central tower looks especially interesting. It looks a lot less like East Berlin than the original portfolio of images showed.
Posted by: anoncannotsleep at January 10, 2008 5:01 AM
Previous poster- what did you expect? This is SOM baby! Empire State, Sears Tower, Burj Dubai, and now TI.
Posted by: me at January 10, 2008 9:39 AM
I can't wait for the complaints. 'My view is blocked, let's put severe height limits on TI and crush any chances of becoming a world renowned innovative green experiment because MY VIEW! Waaahhhh!'
Posted by: babysanfranciscan at January 10, 2008 9:41 AM
"I can't wait for the complaints."
O.K. here is a complaint for you. WHY again do all of the images seem to show hundreds of palm trees. Can't designers show any other type of landscape than palms? I think palms are great, but it seems that they are the only tree being selected on recent projects in San Francisco and I miss the variety of trees I grew up with in Santa Barbara. Believe it or not, in Monteceito we had hundreds of different types of trees that lined the roads and created a rich visual experience when walking home from school. Treasure Island gets some strongs winds and palm trees will not do much in creating a wind break.
The overall design is fantastic imho and I cannot wait to see this built!
Posted by: anoncomplainer at January 10, 2008 11:08 AM
"Treasure Island gets some strongs winds and palm trees will not do much in creating a wind break."
The only way you'll get a wind break is by putting a line of Euctalyptus trees on the western side of the island. If you did this, we'd have more NIMBYs complaining that their views were blocked.
Posted by: SFhighrise at January 10, 2008 11:13 AM
Palm trees are great- they never grow out into the street or sidewalks, creating a hazard. They are very easy to keep alive, they don't leave that sappy substance that ruins car paint that all the other trees in the city do, they don't leave disgusting messes on the sidewalk from old blossoms and berries that get squished into the sidewalk, creating a mess of a path in front of you to slide all around on. The only thing to look out for is a falling spiky palm frond from the sky YOUCH!
Posted by: me at January 10, 2008 11:24 AM
"After analyzing weather patterns, for example, they decided to reorient street grids 35 degrees west of due south to optimize solar exposure and protection from the wind. Not only will the diagonal alignment make outdoor spaces more comfortable throughout the year, it will save energy on heating, cooling and lighting structures.
All the buildings on Treasure Island will meet the gold standard of the U.S. Green Building Council, further reducing energy consumption. In the island's 220 acres of open space, a new, biologically diverse ecosystem—including plants found in coastal prairie and oak woodlands—will help offset the city's greenhouse gas emissions by locking up carbon dioxide. This natural sequestration, together with increased energy efficiency and a decreased reliance on automobiles, will drop per capita carbon emissions 60 percent, from 7740 to 3030 pounds per year."
"The spot where Rogers and I now stand will be buffered from the wind by trees and buildings. But at the other end of the island, large-scale wind turbines will spin purposefully in the strong breeze. On the tops of buildings, small-scale vertical turbines will provide individualized power."
Posted by: re: wind and trees at January 10, 2008 11:52 AM
Not that it's important, but for the record, SOM did not design Empire State Building, it was designed by Shreve, Lamb, and Hardon. And from an environmental perspective, I would think they would use native California plants if they're really going for a green experiment (meaning no palm trees and definitely no eucalyptus).
Posted by: LJL at January 10, 2008 12:46 PM
Palm trees are native to California, down south. So they are native to the state.
Posted by: you at January 10, 2008 12:59 PM
And if sea levels rise dramatically due to global warming? Our very own modern green Atlantis by the bay...
Posted by: Micahel at January 10, 2008 1:32 PM
"And if sea levels rise dramatically "
Even in conservative Orange County they have accepted the rising sea levels already. They just funded a huge sea wall project for Balboa Island as rising winter tidal sea levels in Newport Bay are already starting to flood certain streets during Winter high tides. Without the new sea walls, the island would flood by 2030. Maybe they could turn Treasure Island into a city of canals like Venice?
Regarding the palms, why can't we use trees that are native to our climate zone? There are trees in the Bay Area that actually have great Fall color, and do not use the amount of water that other species from outside our area would require.
Posted by: anontreehugger at January 10, 2008 1:52 PM
Huh? Isn't this like the third time I've seen this tower in a model?
Are they just re-using the same buildings??? Maybe it makes sense to cut costs in a down economy, but come on!
Posted by: Foolio at January 10, 2008 1:57 PM
Good point, you, some palm trees are native to the deserts of Southern California. I should have said Northern California or just gotten off my soap box altogether, but just to throw it out there, i think using locally adapted plants would be an interesting part of the project if they are going for a model of a green community.
Posted by: LJL at January 10, 2008 3:37 PM
Palm trees don't filter the air or produce oxygen to any significant degree. Additionally they drop foliage in an obnoxious way. Municipalities that went for palms in a big way have been replacing them both in SoCal and in Florida. Well selected trees properly tended will not rip up roadways with their root systems.
The larger question is why build this at all. Treasure island is a dysfunctional bedroom community with serious transportation issues. Increasing the density is likely to make problems worse, not better. There needs to be serious attention to making the community work, providing jobs, and making transit work better. As it is this will add a lot of vehicles to roads and freeway access points that are extremely underbuilt even now.
Posted by: Mole Man at January 10, 2008 5:53 PM
I agree with Mole Man in that I am still not convinced that housing is the best use for this island. What exactly would this "community" feel like? If there are not shops and restaurants, it would feel like a seniors citizen community like "Leisure World", where the streets are green and empty and nobody walks because there is nothing to walk to. If there are to be shops and restaurants, they will need to allow cars on the island for patrons to visit, and that would increase bridge traffic even more. There is still so many parts of the city that could use greater density, do we really need to move a bunch of people to an island?
As for the palms, how many more years do we have to suffer through the palm tree fad before we go back to trees that grew in the Bay Area for hundreds of years? Take a drive up or down Highway One to see how beautiful our coastal landscape is where it has been left alone and preserved from the palm tree planters.
Posted by: anonpalmhater at January 10, 2008 6:45 PM
Well at least I'm not the only one.
Posted by: LJL at January 10, 2008 9:08 PM