POSTED: 27 DECEMBER 2007 - 6:15am

Saving Monkeypods: An SOS to the World

image above: trees to be cut down by off island developer and consultant

by Carolyn Blake on 26 December 2007

It seems that the real problem in Koloa with the trees is one of creativity, or rather, lack thereof. It is entirely possible to keep all the old trees, preserve green space, protect the ecosystem, and for the Knudsen family to have their “development”. The exact sort of development that takes place and the way it takes shape appears to be the biggest point of contention.

Imagine if you will this scenario: architectural consulting pro pono publico from Hawai‘i architecture leaders in sustainability coupled with a student design competition enlisting the talent from the University of Hawai‘i Ma¯noa Architecture School to create a ecologically compatible design schematic for the Koloa Plaza development. This would be a one of a kind destination not only for Kaua‘i but for Hawai‘i as well. This could become something so revolutionary that it could attract media attention throughout the state, the mainland and the world.

People everywhere love Kaua‘i, and Hawai‘i in general, and it is because so many people love her that they wish to protect her natural beauty. Kaua‘i is attractive to visitors because of her beauty, not for perfect weather; Maui and Hawai‘i Kona have much more sunshine than Kaua‘i. Unarguably, people are intrinsically drawn to nature so, what more brilliant attraction than the gentle swaying shade provided by old growth trees?

It is possible for the Knudsen family to save money in both the construction and operating costs of a LEED (Leader in Energy and Environmental Design) certified structure. Not only would the developers benefit from free publicity and worldwide exposure, but community leaders and representatives could help create a foundation for change. An opportunity to protect and take care of their homeland for their children, grandchildren and so on. Something like this could have the potential to wake up Kaua‘i, and to inspire anyone who visits Old Koloa town.

I have spoken to my brother Keith Blake, who is an active member of Sustainable Saunders, the sustainability group at UH Ma¯noa, about the possibility of such an undertaking. He talked about some green consulting he had done for low-income housing development in Wai‘anai on O‘ahu. He told me about the excitement of the project manager as he began to get more ideas. This is the kind of inspiration that can happen here, all it takes is just one step in the right direction. Keith also, named Steve Meter UH Ma¯noa School of Architecture sustainability guru who may be of assistance in coordinating any sort of design competition with the university.

Instead of chopped up trees and pavement there could be a plan that includes and utilizes all old growth trees, minimizes run-off, uses rainwater gardens, rainwater catchments, solar power, wind power, natural cooling using the prevailing winds, possibly moving water cooling, fishponds, an aquaponic garden for fresh local organic dining, permeable pavement for storm water runoff, small boardwalk through the trees/open spaces, NO CONCRETE foundations, utilize reclaimed or locally sourced materials, shuttle to and from south shore resorts to minimize need for parking space/maximize green space and so forth.

The POSSIBILITIES are NUMEROUS! I am all for chaining myself to some trees but instead of just protesting what we don’t want how about some proposing. Let’s talk about what we DO want to see. I hope this sparks some imaginations out there and gets our S.O.S. heard around the world!

Contacts at UH:
Keith Blake
Steve Meder



POSTED: 27 DECEMBER 2007 - 6:15am

Save Monkeypod Alternative Site Plan

by Juan Wilson on 27 December 2007

The image above is a detail from one of two plans submitted to the Koloa Community Association as alternatives to the 2006 site plan presented by the developers of the Koloa Marketplace site.

The plans were developed by myself and Jonathan Jay. The assumptions were that the same building footprints and shapes would be used in alternative arrangements. Moreover, parking layout would be altered. The goals of the changes would be the attempt to save trees. A significant tree saving was fairly easy to accomplish with a slight reduction in the car parking count.

With the implementation of a new traffic plan that includes multi-modal transportation into Koloa Town we felt reducing parking requirements for private cars by at least 10% was acceptable and a variance the County could grant without undesirable ramifications.

Note, in this scheme (A-2) that a pedestrian focused core leads from the corner of Maluhia Road and Koloa Road across the site that incorporates most of the monkeypod trees that are threatened with the developers plan.

Perhaps an even greater saving of trees could be accomplished with variations of building plans as well.


see also:
Island Breath: Monkeypod Threes Threatened 12/18/07
Island Breath: Koloa Village Plaza Plan 8/9/06
Island Breath: Koloa-Poipu Moratorium 7/23/06