As science develops and offers better innovations, municipalities around the world are looking for ways to retrofit their cities with new technologies. One group of developers decided to sidestep the issue by creating a “smart city” from the ground up. As the first city of its kind in the Northeast, Union Point is designed to harness clean power and be energy efficient.
This sustainable urban development is 12 miles south of Boston, and 42 miles northeast of Providence. With an on-site commuter rail station, Union Point residents can be in Boston within a 20-minute train ride. Phase I is designed to create a walkable city environment spanning 450,000 square feet.
Our own Kyle Corkum tells the @bostonbusinessjournal that when he read @amazon's request for proposals for its gargantuan HQ2 project, his excitement swelled. “I kept waiting for there to be a condition or an ideal that we couldn’t meet,” said Corkum. “I feel sorry for the rest of the competition in the United States, because, honest to God, I have a hard time imagining another site that can score the way we’re going to score.” @lstarventures is one of many developers in the region gearing up to try to land one of the biggest HQ projects ever announced in the US: Amazon.com Inc.’s potential 8 million-square-foot, 100-acre, $5 billion second headquarters campus. #UnionPointMA
If you’re wondering how this much space near a major city was just laying around, there’s a simple answer to that. The site was once the location of the South Weymouth Naval Air Station. Three metropolitan hubs, Weymouth, Abington, and Rockland, surround the development. As one can imagine, the three towns are open to the prospect of new housing and jobs in the area. Rockland’s town administrator told Huffington Post, “We all know this could be an economic dynamo for the region.” As the construction continues along, four thousand private residences will take root in the area.
The plan also includes about eight million square feet of commercial space. The futuristic city is planning to offer a mix of food and shopping by blending name brand stores with artisans and smaller groups. Some high tech perks will include a state of the art movie theatre, a performing arts venue, and sports district.
Much of the technology will be operated by smart software systems to monitor all the lighting, heating, and air conditioning. The developers are keeping in mind the continually changing nature of technology to make sure the city's developments do not become obsolete.
Green initiatives, such as 50 miles of hiking and biking trails, round out the city’s ambitious design. Sustainable energy usage is at the forefront of the project, and many of the commercial buildings are designed to meet LEED Gold or Platinum Standards. Rooftop solar energy will fuel many of the buildings and as technology progresses the city will be able to wean itself off of the local power grid. While the complete transition away from fossil fuels is not currently possible on every level, the city is determined to work towards that goal with built-in adaptable energy systems. Union Point is hoping to run just on clean energy in the near future.
In the meantime, the real estate development firm behind the project, LStar Ventures, is hoping to bring in groups that are environmentally sensitive and tech savvy. One such target is Amazon, which is currently looking to spend about $5 billion to expand its second headquarters. The group estimates that the average person that can afford a home at Union Point will have a household income at around $104,000.With accommodations for electric vehicles and hundreds of miles of open space, Union Point seems a promising a town for any eco-conscious person or business.
The City of London Corporation will be fully running on renewable energy by October in the city's most prominent business district. Under Mayor Sadiq Khan, England's capital city is quickly transforming toward sustainable solutions, just years after being ranked as the worst in the area.
Ikea announced multiple renewable targets that they plan to reach by 2030, which includes removing single-use plastic over the next few years, offering more home solar solutions, and to reduce their greenhouse gases by 80 percent compared to their levels in 2016.
China is slowing down local growth in the solar industry, which may not sound like progress, but the entire world benefits. Lower costs from Chinese manufacturers exporting their products will create higher rates of installation around the world.
The European Commission announced plans recently to further regulate single-use plastic, including outright banning certain items that have the most effect on marine pollution. These new rules would also require manufacturers to raise awareness and help with cleanup efforts.