Green & Inclusive: San Jose's Gish Apartments


We have been describing Universal Design as: orientation to any design process that starts with a responsibility to the experience of the user. It has a parallel in the green design movement that also offers a framework for design problem solving based on the core value of environmental responsibility. Universal Design and green design are comfortably two sides of the same coin but at different evolutionary stages. Green design focuses on environmental sustainability, Universal Design on social sustainability.

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed and First Community Housing have delivered on the green/UD link:

In San Jose, First Community Housing's 35-unit Gish Apartments earned the LEED for Homes certification. The group serves transit-oriented families as well as those with developmental disabilities.

"Green homes perform better than the average home," [LEED council spokeswoman Ashley] Katz said. "They're a healthier place to live with a smaller environmental footprint. It's like a tighter envelope."

San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, who offered up a green vision for the city last fall, attended Monday's ceremony. Afterward, he said his staff has started counting solar roofs in San Jose, and that fewer than 500 are now in place. His goal is 100,000 solar roofs in San Jose over the next 10 years.

Sustainable and inclusive destination development works even in Silicon Valley.


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