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How 'Just Green Enough' Adds the Equity to 'Green'

A Fast Co. Design article explains the "just green enough" concept as advanced by Jennifer Wolch, dean of the College of Environmental Design at the University of California, Berkeley.
October 21, 2014, 11am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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"On the three Es of sustainability--ecology, economy, and equity--the High Line in New York passes the first two with flying colors," writes Eric Jaffe. "But the High Line's record on equity is more troubling."

"The High Line is an extraordinary example of what's become an ordinary theme for green design projects: a dazzling park comes in, the low-income locals go out."

Jaffe's critique of the High Line comes by way of an introduction to the concept of "just green enough" (defined by Jaffe as "a delicate balance of sustainability and equity"), as researched by Jennifer Wolch, dean of the College of Environmental Design at University of California, Berkeley.

Jaffe presents "just green enough" as a tool to overcome the challenges posed by the High Line: "The basic idea is that not every sustainable design project need be a market-driven concept that favors new residents to native populations. Instead of a grand waterfront plaza dotted with high-end boutiques and LEED-certified towers, a 'just green enough' strategy might emphasize small-scale community gardens or basic environmental cleanup." 

Jaffe goes on to sight real world examples of the "just green enough" concept in action, most notably in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.

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Published on Wednesday, October 15, 2014 in Fast Co. Design
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