Living community patterns — bits and pieces of next-generation urban form?

On January 23rd at the Net Positive (Energy+Water) Conference in San Francisco, the International Living Future Institute (ILFI) released their recently completed Living Community Patterns (LCP) – Exploratory Strategies for a Sustainable San Francisco, a research report prepared in collaboration with the San Francisco Planning Department.

Planning teams can use this report to spur innovation to achieve ILFI’s Living Community Challenge (LCC); or they can use both documents to explore the emerging practice of regenerative planning, design, and platemaking as a route to creating sustainable places, neighborhoods, and communities.

The collaboration between ILFI and the SF Planning Department under ILFI’s Living City Grant Program arose from the 2011 Living City Competition. The research project used ILFI’s regenerative framework of the LCC and inspiration from Christopher Alexander’s “Patterns Language” to explore and develop key features of an ultimately sustainable or “living” place (neighborhood, community, and city).

Research included a preliminary carrying-capacity analysis of the city’s energy, water, and food systems. The team conducted neighborhood charrettes in Noe Valley — focused on alley greening — and in Chinatown, focused on deep energy retrofits of public housing buildings.

You can download the PDF, explore its perspective on sustainable neighborhoods and communities, and contribute to its further development with comments to For the SF experience, contact

 Scott T. Edmondson, AICP, a planner with the San Francisco Planning Department, is founder, former co-director, and research lead of Northern Section’s Sustainability Committee, and an APA Sustainability Champion. “Plan-it sustainably” is a service of the Sustainability Committee.

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