City of Chicago's Pilsen Neighborhood Greenscaping, from City of Chicago site.

America’s Greenest Street is in Chicago

I live in a beautifully cluttered and noisy place: Chicago. Being from Iowa, it took a bit to adapt. The skyscrapers in Iowa were silos and our busy streets were 2 lanes, one in each direction. I loved the fresh air and space Iowa afforded me growing up, but I love the city just as well. Growing up in Iowa, stewardship for the earth has been something deeply engrained in me. My grandfather was a farmer and owed his living to the land. Because of this, I’m especially sensitive to how we treat the earth. Cities tend to be more about moving from point A to point B.

In the future I believe that a lot of the technologies today that we refer to as ‘green’ will just be a common part of our everyday life. Chicago has begun implementing these types of technologies on major streets. A project by the City of Chicago in the Pilsen neighborhood is a 2-mile glimpse into the future. It includes things like:

  • Photocatalytic cement, which uses the energy of the sun to convert smog into breathable air.
  • Permeable pavement, which helps prevent water from collecting in puddles and pools on the sidewalk and in streets.
  • Bioswales, which absorb water runoff in a natural way.
  • Solar and wind to power the bus shelters.

NAR members should definitely keep an eye on these technologies as we move forward because more than likely, they will have clients asking for them. Also, if you work with developers, you can discuss the advantages and advances in these fields of technology. These features not only help us co-exist with our enviornment, but add value to properties. What if your client lived near a busy street. Photocatalytic cement would be a great addition to their property. Cleaner air is always a good thing, right?

I’ve noticed a trend in Chicago of late. It seems that standalone structures, like bus shelters, are getting solar and wind treatments for their power. Our bike share program, Divvy, has taken advantage of solar for the powering of its stations. I don’t think it will be long before cities large and small think about how to solve these same problems. Thank you to the City of Chicago for thinking in this way. What about where you are? Do you have some innovative and forward-thinking city planners where you’re at? Reach out to us on Twitter, Facebook or email.

Resources at NAR:

Smart Growth

From their site:
The healthier a community, the better the environment for REALTORS®. Keeping a community attractive, livable and functioning well is a complex task. Who better to be stewards of their community than REALTORS®? Whether your community is grappling with transportation and land use issues, crowded schools or open space, or working to bring vacant properties back to productive use, NAR’s Smart Growth program has resources to help your association plant seeds that will pay dividends for your members for years to come. Click here for more information.

GREEN Resource Council

NAR’s GREEN Resource Counicl is a great place to learn more about Green technologies and becoming an NAR Green Designee. Find out more from the GREEN REsource Council.
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Chad Curry

Managing Director for the Center for REALTOR® Technology. Working to improve the value proposition to our members through our web properties and mobile space.

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Comments
  1. Great things in Chicago for sure! Seattle may not have wind powered bus stops but we do have solar powered ones. Also many miles now of bio-swales. pervious pavement, bike lanes, etc. Great work Chicago, but Seattle is leading city in many ways as well. http://www.seattle.gov/environment

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