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Articles by Allison Milionis

Allison Milionis is a Los Angeles-based writer who considers herself a nature girl in spite of living in the heart of a giant metropolis.

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Nothing about this traditional design says “gray water treatment happens here.” Renderings: Southern Heritage Homes

Lined with rundown, century-old houses and situated within a couple miles of downtown Roanoke, the neighborhood of Gainsboro, Va., seems an unlikely place to hatch a groundbreaking architectural experiment. But in early November, construction will begin there on the first cradle-to-cradle house, with those behind the project hoping to show that green can be affordable.

In many ways, Gainsboro is the perfect site for such an undertaking. After suffering years of deterioration and failed urban-renewal efforts, the city’s oldest neighborhood had been targeted by municipal leaders for sprucing up. Then, in 2004, local architects Gregg Lewis and Jennifer Smith Lewis, of SmithLewis Architecture, suggested the C2C concept for a housing design competition. By the end of the year, more than 600 submissions from 41 countries had flooded the SmithLewis office.

Designers were guided by a list of five issues that summed up the sustainability principles defined by architect William McDonough and chemist Michael Braungart in the... Read more