"By 2030, a staggering 900 billion
sq. ft. of new and rebuilt buildings will be constructed
in cities worldwide – an area equal to more than 3 times
the total building stock of the United States.
We have a choice.
We can plan, design and build sustainably, or accelerate
environmental degradation and increase human suffering." – Edward Mazria
The 2030 Palette
The 2030 Palette is an interactive web platform containing a set of principles and actions for the planning and design of sustainable and resilient buildings and communities worldwide.
Since planning and designing the built environment is primarily a visual activity, the 2030 Palette is structured as a visual network of interrelated elements called Swatches. Swatches present highly complex and multi-dimensional information in a readily accessible format organized by category – Region, City/Town, District, Site and Building. Each Swatch contains a written recommendation, rule-of-thumb, images and graphics representing the physical application of the recommendation, as well as more detailed information for its successful application.
Region addresses built and natural environments surrounding cities and towns.
Swatches at this scale consider large planning issues such as land use, settlement areas, natural habitat vitality and viability, and transit network. Specific recommendations and rules-of-thumb include growth boundaries, habitat corridors, and transit corridors. Swatches in Region also focuses on best practices for adaptive and resilient development that can manage growth and climate change impacts, preserve natural resources, and exist sustainably within their ecological capital.
Copenhagen Fingerplan 2007. Credit: Danish Ministry of the Environment.
City / Town
City/Town addresses planning issues within a defined urban context.
Swatches at this scale focus on design and planning practices that dramatically reduce the environmental impact and exposure of new and existing development. Specific recommendations and rules-of-thumb include urban infill, retrofit, new growth, open space and green infrastructure, and urban bikeways.
Darling Quarter, ASPECT Studios. Credit: Florian Groehn.
District addresses the intersection of land use and mobility issues within a defined urban setting or community.
Swatches at this scale explore how people use, interact, and move through district centers, neighborhoods, and street networks. Specific recommendations and rules-of-thumb include district center configuration, density, street layout and design, and development that encourages walking, bicycling, and public transit.
Portland Lightrail. Credit: Patrick Dirden Photography.
Site addresses the individual building or development site.
Swatches at this scale consider site and climatic conditions that form the foundation of building design. Strategies and actions integrate issues of microclimate, vegetation, water, and site stability. Specific recommendations and rules-of-thumb include low-impact development, solar access, elevated buildings, green roofs, and infrastructure systems such as water-catchment and constructed wetlands.
Casa Atami, Marcos Bertoldi Arquitetos. Credit: Alessandra Okasaki.
Building addresses the context, form, orientation, layout, and elements of a building.
Swatches at this scale focus on designing with sunlight, daylight, and air movement to provide comfortable indoor conditions with little to no off-site energy inputs. Specific recommendations and rules-of-thumb include spatial configurations, daylighting strategies and controls, passive heating systems, shading, and passive cooling systems.
Green School, PT Bambu. Credit: Iwan Baan.
The 2030 Palette is an educational platform containing a set of guiding principles, information, and resources – or Swatches – for the development of schematic planning strategies and building designs. The extent to which any or all of the Swatch information and recommendations are realized in practice, depends on the extent to which the designer succeeds in understanding and applying the information and recommendations. All Swatch content should be verified according to local conditions, codes, standards, and regulations, and are not a substitute for a detailed or in-depth analysis of planning strategies, applications, and infrastructure and building designs.