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2013 Award of Excellence - Designing With Resource Flows: Pithlochoco Eco-Industrial Park
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Project Category: Institutional

Project Name: Designing With Resource Flows: Pithlochoco Eco-Industrial Park

Length of Design Effort & Date of Completion: 08/12- 02/13

Student: Bryant Cook, University of Florida

 Faculty Advisors: Dr. Mary Padua, ASLA, CLARB, RLA - Peggy Carr

Inspiration for this project came from reading the book Ecology of Commerce by environmentalist and author Paul Hawken. It was the first time I had ever heard of the concept of an eco-industrial park and immediately became captivated by the idea. In its basic form, an eco-industrial park (EIP) is a network of firms and organizations, working together to improve their environmental and economic performance through resource exchanges among one another.

Hawken wrote of an industrial park in Kalundborg, Denmark where industrial symbiosis took place. Industrial symbiosis is when one entity’s by-product is another’s input and they depend on each other to exist. These same types of relationships occur in natural ecosystems. Through learning about these concepts I became interested in applying systems found in nature to an industrial design to see how it could cut down on environmental degradation, economic costs, and relate to the surrounding landscape.

My project begins with the objective to bring industry and proposed new development to eastern Alachua County on a 17,000 acre tract of timber land known as the Windsor Tract. This property is located 7 miles directly east of Gainesville, Fl. The research focuses on applying "intelligent landscapes” and sustainable principles to the development of an eco-industrial park. It is a technological and land use exploration with the research goal to find industries and agriculture that can work with one another at the Windsor Tract through energy, water, and biomass exchanges. Through these exchanges not only will the industries be economically efficient, but also minimize environmental impacts.

A site and SWOT analysis of the 17,000 acre Windsor Tract was undertaken to select the EIP design site. After the site was chosen a series of industries and agricultural practices were examined to determine which industries would be selected to participate in the EIP. Fifteen different industries and seventeen forms of agriculture that had the ability for resource exchange were selected. The potential resource exchanges were mapped to justify the overall site plan. Industries with strong relationships between one another were sited near each other on the site plan to foster exchanges between them.

This project can serve as a model for designing sites that consider research on resource flows and exchanges. It has the potential to be used as a prototype for industrial ecology that could help to reveal the ideal EIP design. Over 100 different opportunities for resource exchanges between co-located EIP members were mapped during this project. It was also determined that an EIP of this magnitude would employ over 1000 people directly and indirectly create an additional 1500 jobs in eastern Alachua County.

Additionally, projects such as these can serve as a motivator to bring allied professions together. Because executing a project of this magnitude would take expertise in many different fields it can serve as a base to bring different backgrounds together. Due to resource optimization as a fundamental component for EIP development, the landscape architecture profession is poised to take on the role of leaders in this emerging field of intelligent landscapes and eco-industrial design. 

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MISSION STATEMENT Leading, educating, and participating in the careful stewardship, wise planning, and artful design of our cultural and natural environments.