Tarbell guides Albuquerque’s ‘business case for sustainable urbanization’

Courtesy Albuquerque Business First.

By Damon Scott

November 12, 2014

Laurie Tarbell wants the Albuquerque business community to join the conversation about Albuquerque's place as an emerging 2030 District.

Tarbell has emerged herself — she is a designer and real estate developer who has become a voice for Downtown stakeholders. She is the vice president of Downtown ABQ MainStreet and co-owner of Downtown's Levitated Toy Factory with her husband, Jared Tarbell, who is a founder of Etsy.com. The two have made significant investments in Downtown buildings in recent years.

As a designer and developer, Laurie Tarbellsays she has a unique perspective on the built environment. She is a big supporter of the Urban Land Institute's efforts to drive the conversation around 2030 Districts and engage the public and private sector in the initiative. Business First talked to Tarbell about 2030 and her involvement.

Describe the 2030 District and why you think Albuquerque is ready for it.

A 2030 District is a local, voluntary collaboration based on information sharing and a commitment to common development goals that increase property value while simultaneously improving environmental impact. It is the business case for sustainable urbanization. Participating property owners, managers and developers share their [anonymous] utility data with the district, and strategic private-public partnerships provide development incentives, funding opportunities, shared resources and the education and technical support needed to successfully operate, maintain, and [re]develop buildings as high-performance properties. The only way to become a city of the future is to collectively set that goal in the present and start working toward it. Albuquerque's urban core is ready for an enticing invitation to effectively maintain and remodel existing structures in a forward-looking manner and develop new buildings that will reinvigorate the area and attract desirable new occupants.

Where do things stand now?

The Nov. 20 "2030 Districts with Ed Mazria" luncheon will be the official launch of our public outreach campaign. We hope to gather a great number of Albuquerque's innovative building managers, property owners, entrepreneurs and public leaders to learn first-hand about the national model and to spark the greater conversation about establishing a 2030 District here. The grassroots effort to organize it is just beginning to take shape, and strategic partnerships unique to our city are rapidly emerging with government officials, nonprofits, building and energy-sector professionals, and innovative property partners.

Mazria's organization is based in Santa Fe. Does it help to have that resource and ULI connections so close at hand?

The entire 2030 District national network is extremely supportive of Albuquerque's progress from an emerging district to an established district. I do believe that it will be especially meaningful for Architecture 2030 and Ed Mazria to see the first 2030 District formed in their home state of New Mexico. ULI-New Mexico was able to inspire him to make Albuquerque a stop on his global lecture itinerary.

Why is this issue important to you personally?

I ask myself what I can do locally to create the kind of positive change I want to see globally, and the 2030 District model provides an effective road map for high-impact actions. As a mother living in Albuquerque, I think about my daughter turning 18 years old in 2030, and by that time, I want the urban heart of New Mexico to be a thriving, healthy, innovative place where she feels inspired to live, learn and work. I want to create high-quality built environments that are relevant to the 21st century. To do that cost effectively, I'll need access to a robust, local green-building economy, which we need to grow.

(Original article can be found at http://www.bizjournals.com/albuquerque/news/2014/11/12/tarbell-guides-albuquerque-s-business-case-for.html)