Malcolm 'Max' DeRungs

Kirker Heights

Forward-thinking economic, social and ecological design for land reclamation and sustainable community development on a property near Concord, CA.

Urban expansion east of the San Francisco bay had avoided the dry, wind blown Contra Costa County hills. But development pressures were high in the early 1980s, and a group of landowners viewed their 420 acre property near Kirker Pass and Mulligan Hill as more than a potential wind farm and regional landfill site for Bay Area refuse.

The land owners envisioned these projects as laying the groundwork for a unique semi-urban ecological type community and hired the office of Richard D. Britz, Architect to create a conceptual site plan and narrative outlining a community built on "Edible City" principles.

The resulting conceptual land use plan and phased implementation proposed to transform an exploitative process into a renewable one by exploring the profitability of sustainable community and ecosystem services concepts.

CONCEPTUAL LAND USE PROPOSAL - PLAN

Income from investments in wind energy production and landfill operations were proposed to fund land reclamation and development of a high-density clustered residential community that augmented well water with rain water and treated its own wastewater locally.

Income from this development phase would subsidize micro-agriculture and ranching biodiversity projects that could bring fresh food products and a degree of income autonomy to the local community.

CONCEPTUAL LAND USE PROPOSAL - SECTION

Land Uses

  • Residential - mixed use density; single family, apartments, townhouses, and condo dwelling units.
  • Commercial - two to three story mixed use; ground floor retail and offices above.
  • Agricultural - small livestock grazing, vineyards, plant nursery, orchard, and urban-scale row crops.
  • Institutional - recreation center and school.
  • Craft Industrial - e.g. glass foundry using silica sand mined locally.
  • Open Space - community park connected to reforested ridges.

Infrastructure

  • Water Management - rainwater catchment and underground storage for potable water and irrigation; wells for underground water quality monitoring.
  • Power Production - wind turbine clusters and substation.
  • Traffic Management - sunken roads blending into hillside, main roadway designed for 30mph speed.
  • Waste Treatment - prepackaged sewage treatment plant.
PHASING AND TOPOGRAPHY - PLAN
  • Phase one - landfill and rock mining development anticipated future roads, contour and future infrastructure needs.
  • Phase two - wind farms anticipated energy infrastructure and grazing needs.
  • Phase three - community development and open space anticipated small scaled agricultural improvements.
  • Phase four - reforestation.
Each land use phase anticipated the next phase.

Features

  • Overlapped agriculture, ranching, and wind energy land uses with regional power transmission line crossing the site.
  • Leveraged property setback on west end of site required by Concord Naval Weapon Storage Station for native forest restoration.
  • Strung residential zones along roads that hugged base of hillside contours, leaving reclaimed flat valley floors for public facilities and open spaces.
  • Connected housing clusters with continuous fingers of open space.
  • Preserved scenic ridges from extraction and reclamation processes.

Meta

On site field analysis. Collected political, economic, social and environmental data with team. Design catalyst and delineator of presentation materials.

Role: Designer

Setting: R. D. Britz, Architect

Location: Eugene, Oregon

Year: 1982