Green Ideas

Local experts share ways Southern Nevada can become a more sustainable place:

Eric Roberts, vice president of SH Architecture: “There are cool ideas like Portland’s bike rental program. They have city-owned bikes that you pay a fee to ride anytime you want and then just leave them at a city-designated location.”

Robert Fielden, owner of RAFI Urban Planning, Architecture and Design: “Urban agriculture is a term that is just starting to return to the United States. In Berlin today there are 55,000 urban farmers who grow and raise about 40 percent of the produce that is used to feed the people in that city. They use alleyways, undeveloped spots; they have community gardens in parks and also on rooftops, so that these all become far more productive uses of space and uses of facility.” Cindy Godzisz of suggests that we could emulate the co-ops in California, where used items are traded and recycled instead of going into the landfill. “What we don’t do a lot of is repurposing. I don’t think that’s very popular here in Las Vegas.”

Tara Pierce, local organizer of Green Drinks, a networking group that creates awareness about eco-conscious businesses and concerns: “Recycling is a huge issue here in Las Vegas, particularly glass recycling. Some cities have adopted a recycling rewards program as an incentive for communities to recycle. That would be a great program for Las Vegas to adopt.”

Steve Rypka, president of GreenDream Enterprises, thinks renewable energy is the key to our future: “Our goal should be to become the first carbon-neutral state in the U.S. We have all the resources we need to make that happen and we’ve been challenged to do as much by President Clinton. We have strong advocates in Washington, especially Sen. Harry Reid. I think it’s time to set a big goal like that and put a lot of people back to work.”

Eric Strain, principal architecture at assemblageSTUDIO: The French refer to terroir in winemaking, meaning a group of vineyards from the same region, sharing the same type of soil and weather conditions, which contribute personality to the wine. Every community should have its own character, a spiritual terroir. The architecture of Las Vegas should seek to capture this feeling of place and specific identity. Do we have any sense of place in our designs right now? We should have canopies to shade, heavy walls to shield … not the latest architectural fads—just sound design ideas, time-tested for desert climates and crafted of appropriate materials and technology.”

– Compiled by Mark Adams

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