© 2013

The Hidden Potential of Sustainable Neighborhoods

Lessons from Low-Carbon Communities

  • First book to quantify these sustainable community models

  • Clear and extensive application of lessons learned from these European models to the US

  • Four-color graphic treatment helps to inspire and show what is possible in designing US communities for a low-carbon future

  • Many of the topics in the book, namely distributed energy systems, have been in the news as a step to consider towards greater resilience since Hurricane Sandy


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xx
  2. Harrison Fraker
    Pages 1-9
  3. Harrison Fraker
    Pages 11-41
  4. Harrison Fraker
    Pages 43-67
  5. Harrison Fraker
    Pages 69-95
  6. Harrison Fraker
    Pages 97-119
  7. Harrison Fraker
    Pages 121-153
  8. Harrison Fraker
    Pages 155-195
  9. Harrison Fraker
    Pages 197-208
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 209-226

About this book


How do you achieve effective low-carbon design beyond the building level? How do you create a community that is both livable and sustainable? More importantly, how do you know if you have succeeded? Harrison Fraker goes beyond abstract principles to provide a clear, in-depth evaluation of four first generation low-carbon neighborhoods in Europe, and shows how those lessons can be applied to the U.S. Using concrete performance data to gauge successes and failures, he presents a holistic model based on best practices.

The four case studies are: Bo01 and Hammarby in Sweden, and Kronsberg and Vauban in Germany. Each was built deliberately to conserve resources: all are mixed-used, contain at least 1,000 units, and have aggressive goals for energy and water efficiency, recycling, and waste treatment.

For each case study, Fraker explores the community's development process and  goals and objectives as they relate to urban form, transportation, green space, energy, water and waste systems, and a social agenda. For each model, he looks at overall performance and lessons learned.
Later chapters compare the different strategies employed by the case-study communities and develop a comprehensive model of sustainability, looking specifically at how these lessons can be employed in the United States, with a focus on retrofitting existing communities. This whole-systems approach promises not only a smaller carbon footprint, but an enriched form of urban living. 
The Hidden Potential of Sustainable Neighborhoods will be especially useful for urban designers, architects, landscape architects, land use planners, local policymakers and NGOs, citizen activists, students of urban design, planning, architecture, and landscape architecture.


Climate-responsive design Neighborhood design Resilience Stormwater management Sustainability climate change urban geography and urbanism

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Architecture and Urban DesignUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

About the authors

Harrison Fraker is a professor of Architecture and Urban Design at UC Berkeley, as well as former Dean of the School of Architecture. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal for creating a new College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at the University of Minnesota and was appointed the founding Dean. He was granted Fellowship in the AIA College of Fellows for his distinguished career of bridging education and practice and has published seminal articles on the design potential of sustainable systems and urban design principles for transit oriented neighborhoods.

Bibliographic information

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