Monthly Archives: January 2011

Retail Typology


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This week we had the opportunity to present residential, retail, and office typologies to a real estate class at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Redevelopment. It gave us a chance to brush up on our retail typology section, which we’ve included here.

We’ve organized retail types into small, medium, and large format. These are then organized into various configurations that respond to the number of households within a catchment area. This year, under the transitory retail configuration, we’ve even added food service trucks!

Cooling Heat Islands

Heat Reducing Islands at 4th + Linden
Dark, non-reflective hardscapes in the city – such as streets, parking lots, building roofs, sidewalks – are known to create heat islands, areas that have an artificially elevated ambient temperature when compared with temperatures in more sustainable environments. We southern Californians enjoy our sunshine, but this type of artificial, urban heat is quite harmful, and can have immediate and lasting effects on the local environment and the global climate.

For buildings, darker, less reflective roofs mean the indoor environment is warmer, thus requiring more air-conditioning to maintain comfort for occupants. Higher cooling loads means more energy burned, CO2 expended, and air pollution created, not to mention higher operating costs. Second, the heat absorbed by the dark surfaces is picked up by the breezes and consequently increases the ambient temperature, which is measured several feet above the surface. For example, on a 90 degree summer day, the ambient temperature above an asphalt parking lot can reach 170 degrees, and lighter-colored grey concrete is about 120 degrees, while areas where there are trees is only 87 degrees! Not only does this heat island effect make it uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe for pedestrians, but it can be harmful to animal and plant life in urban environments.  Last, there is the bigger picture of climate change and global responsibility. The warm air from the dark surfaces is absorbed by clouds and contributes to the greenhouse effect of a warmer planet.  

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Bringing nature into our cities, one tree at a time.

Studio One Eleven volunteers Eric Gomez (far left) and David Sabunas (far right) assisting at Lowell Elementary tree planting

We take trees seriously.  Not only do they bring beauty and nature into our cities, but they also increase property values, provide comfort, reduce the heat island effect, and provide a habitat for birds and insects.  On top of that, they get bigger and better with time.

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A City of Contradictions

Downtown New Orleans

One of us recently had the opportunity to visit New Orleans and the city was, as it seemingly always is, magnificent.  Founded in 1718 by the French Mississippi Company, New Orleans offers a magnificent trip through almost 300 years of architecture and planning.  At its core, the city is a strange mix of the brilliant and the absurd and, as you round each street corner, you have no idea which you will encounter.

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