Newsmakers: A.P. Hurd talks up the carbon efficiency of city living

A.P. Hurd is the co-author of

A.P. Hurd is the co-author of "Carbon Efficient City." She'll be speaking in Portland on Nov. 27

A.P. Hurd has some ideas for us on ways to make cities more efficient consumers of carbon — and how to pay for it.

The Seattle-based vice president of Touchstone, a real estate development firm focused on sustainable urban infill projects, will be in Portland later this month to discuss the findings of her book, "Carbon Efficient City."

The guest on Nov. 27 of Pivotal Leaders, Climate Solutions, Cascadia Green Building Council, Urban Land Institute and the Northwest Environmental Business Council, Hurd will talk about ways that cities can operate more efficiently including better buildings, land use strategies and transportations systems.

The book takes an economically pragmatic approach to identifying and funding sustainable upgrades.

We caught up with A.P. Hurd to find out more about her approach. In the mean time we uncovered an interesting example of development in Germany that could address Portland's current kerfuffle over parking-less apartment development.

Sustainable Business Oregon: Let's start with some background. Why did you write “Carbon Efficient City”? What issues or events motivated you?

A.P. Hurd: I wound up writing this book by accident. I was part of an organization called the Quality Growth Alliance where we realized that we had no comprehensive resource that documented all the strategies that metropolitan areas could use to reduce carbon emissions: there were books about green roofs, and transit, and onsite generation, but nothing that brought all these strategies together. At the same time, so many cities and counties are working on this issue, but without a road map. As a result their efforts are often piecemeal, driven more by the foci of their internal departments, than by an understanding of key leverage points in the system. Also, there are a lot of people out there in the private sector trying to do the right thing and encountering so many roadblocks. If we want really scalable changes in our CO2 outputs, we need to make it easier to do the right thing.

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