TINY NEW FLAT-PACKED OFF-GRID HOMES OFFER AFFORDABLE HOUSING BREAKTHROUGH...

Sep 24, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Lacy Cooke  INHABITAT View Slideshow For 11 years, Australia‘s five major cities have been listed as “severely unaffordable” – making home ownership just a dream for many. Architect Alex Symes realized home ownership is typically tied to land ownership, but land prices are now so high, most people can’t afford to buy. As a result, Alex started Big World Homes. The goal is to disrupt expensive city housing with tiny, flat-packed, off-grid homes that sell for between $60K and $80K in Australian dollars, or around $45K to $60K. A Big World Home is created with 39 flat-pack panels, which are comprised of “low environmental impact materials“, including plywood, thermal insulation, and lightweight cladding. Even people without building experience can erect a Build World Home using a drill and a hammer, with access...

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ASLA LAUNCHES GUIDE TO RESILIENT DESIGN...

Sep 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT     BY Jared Green Resilient design / ASLA A new online guide launched today by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) explains how communities can better protect themselves from natural disasters through resilient landscape planning and design. According to the guide, the goal of resilient landscape planning and design is to retrofit communities to recover more quickly from extreme events, now and in the future. In an era when disasters can cause traditional, built systems to fail, adaptive, multilayered systems can maintain their vital functions and are often the more cost-effective and practical solutions. The guide is organized around disruptive events that communities now experience: drought, extreme heat, fire, flooding, and landslides. Biodiversity loss is an underlying threat also explored. The guide includes hundreds of case studies and resources demonstrating multi-benefit...

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BATTLING MOTHER NATURE: Why New York probably won’t abandon its waterfront in the face of climate change...

Sep 22, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] The city can’t surrender its waterfront. But it will have to do something to make it storm-proof. Ben Adler, Grist   FILE – This Dec. 4, 2012, file photo shows the ruins of Breezy Point in the Queens borough of New York where fire burned 130 houses during Superstorm Sandy. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)(Credit: AP) This post initially appeared on Grist Even under the best-case scenarios for climate change, much of New York City will be under water in 100 years. The city would be smart to retreat from its waterfront, according to experts quoted in a recent alarming feature article in New York magazine. But should the city really abandon its coastlines? And, given current political realities, how could it even do so? The article, written by Andrew Rice, suggests that waterfront...

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Why de Blasio’s Huge Rezoning is Unlikely to Create Enough Affordable Housing...

Sep 19, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By M. Barden Prisant, FRICS   COMMON EDGE.ORG I tried to rain on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s parade. I was not alone though. It was me and maybe 2,000 of my fellow community board members. So, who are we? How dare we? And exactly what parade did we rain on?   New York City politics has some quirky institutions, none quirkier than the local community boards. (I serve on Community Board 14, in Brooklyn.) We started life in 1963 as Community Planning Boards, and, though we’ve morphed into multi-issue entities, it’s in city planning, and especially zoning, that we still wield some influence.   We are, however, at the bottom of the food chain, mere appointees of the Borough Presidents and members of City Council. Developers and city officials come to us...

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WHAT DESIGNERS CAN LEARN FROM INDIGENOUS CULTURES IN THE COMING YEARS...

Sep 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Steven Bingler   COMMONEDGE.ORG Scientists have now confirmed that a significant rise in sea levels will occur over the next several decades, creating extreme, and in some cases catastrophic, changes in our coastal landscapes. Millions will be faced with moving to higher ground. This “climate retreat”—which will be the planning issue of our time—is already underway.   On Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula, more than 800 Quinault Indian Nation tribal members are being forced to abandon their traditional clamming, crabbing and salmon fishing businesses, and resettle on safer land. Fawn Sharp, the Nation’s president recently lamented:  “Our ancestors were good stewards of the land, yet we seem to be paying the price for others who don’t share the same values.”   For thousands of years, indigenous planners like those in the Quinault Nation relied on...

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Landscape Architecture in the News Highlights (September 1 – 15)...

Sep 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] J.R. Taylor  THE DIRT Kim Wilkie landscape / The Architectural Digest Fire Pits Add Flare to the Backyard Gatherings – The Los Angeles Times, 9/1/16 “Fire pits — which are portable or permanent troughs or bowls that contain the flames — are expected to be the most popular outdoor design element this year, according to a survey from the American Society of Landscape Architects.” Clash of Titans? Opponents of Pier 55 Have Secret Backer, Media Mogul Says – The New York Times, 9/4/16 “In their quest to build a huge new cultural pier on the West Side of Manhattan, the Hudson River Park Trust and Barry Diller, the media mogul who is paying for it, have faced one seemingly intractable opponent: the City Club of New York, a little-known civic group founded in...

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THE LANDSCAPE OF TYRANNY

Sep 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Aaron King THE DIRT LA+ journal “The social and spatial manifestations of power are directly relevant to the design and use of public space,” explained Tatum Hands, editor-in-chief of LA+, the University of Pennsylvania school of design’s interdisciplinary landscape architecture journal. Tyranny, the third issue of LA+, delves into the complex relationship between abuses of power and public spaces. The issue devotes much of much of its first half to the split identity of spaces of tyranny. For example, public squares can benefit peace protestors and goose steppers, revolutions and counter-revolutions alike. Steve Basson, associate professor of architectural history and theory at Curtin University, exhumes the more disturbing historical uses of public squares in the opening essay, citing examples from Robespierre’s beheadings to Soviet oppression and Nazi torchlight parades. Perhaps more sinister than...

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WILD GARDENING AND WHY NATURE ALWAYS WINS...

Sep 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Margie Ruddick on Wild Gardening and Why Nature Always Wins By Martin C. Pedersen   COMMON EDGE.ORG Margie Ruddick, like most landscape architects, is a master juggler. Her seminal project, Queens Plaza, transformed one of the harshest corners in New York City into an urban oasis. But that work required harassing the efforts of several competing city agencies; listening to an active community with a real stake in the outcome; and mitigating in some way a huge piece of infrastructure, the elevated subway. The 2013 winner of the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award for landscape architecture has a new book just out, Wild By Design: Strategies For Transforming Life-Enhancing Landscapes (Island Press). Last week I interviewed Ruddick, via email, about the book, the role of landscape architecture in the era of climate change, and how...

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HOW ARCHITECTS HELPED HEAL THE TOWN OF NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT...

Sep 11, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Martin C. Pedersen  COMMON EDGE.ORG Even for a country far too accustomed to gun violence, this was a horrific event: a mass shooting inside an elementary school. The town of Newtown, Connecticut was shattered. It’s difficult to imagine how a small, tight knit community could move past such an atrocity. But, because life for the living continues, there was no other choice. So last month, as the school year began, a new Sandy Hook Elementary School opened on the same site where an insane gunman murdered 20 first graders and six adults.   The school, designed by architects Svigals + Partners, is quite deliberately not a memorial to the events of that dark day in December 2012 (that will happen later, at a different site in town). Instead it’s cheerful, optimistic place...

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Electricity-Generating Windows Could Turn Skyscrapers into Solar Farms...

Sep 9, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Business Wire In Brief SolarWindow has announced that they are working on transparent veneers that can be places on regular windows and panels, turning them into electricity-generating solar cells. Solar Skyscrapers Tesla may be at the forefront of solar technologies right now, with their merger with SolarCity bringing the technology full circle. In fact, one of their newer developments is a rumored “solar roof,” an actual roof that functions as solar panels. But what if I told you that a company is looking at turning not just your roof but all your windows into solar panels? SolarWindow has announced that they are working on “transparent electricity-generating veneers.” In other words, transparent solar cells that can be applied to existing windows. The company is looking at tapping the skyscraper market, which consumes 40% of the...

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New Material Transforms Your Windows Into Flexible ‘Smart Windows’...

Aug 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Industrial Rev 2.0 Cockrell School of Engineering A team of engineers found a way to operate smart windows in a low temp, low cost process, to control heat and light from the sun. When compared to other systems, this new material is much more flexible and twice as energy efficient. Researchers from The University of Texas at Austin, led by associate professor Delia Milliron, have invented a new flexible smart material that, when incorporated into windows, sunroofs, or even curved glass surfaces, can control both heat and light from the sun. The windows are made from electrochromic materials, which can change their properties under the influence of small electrical charges of about 4 volts. Capable of being applied with a new low-cost, low-temperature process, the new tech is aimed at saving on cooling and heating...

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More Thoughts on Jane Jacobs from One of Her Closest Collaborator...

Aug 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Opinion By Roberta Brandes Gratz   COMMON EDGE.ORG It was refreshing to read Martin C. Pedersen’s 10 Lessons Learned from Rereading Jane Jacobs and see that he didn’t perpetrate some of the common myths about her (i.e. she wanted every neighborhood to be like Greenwich Village; she didn’t like tall buildings; or, even more preposterously, she was somehow to blame for the ills of gentrification).   And while Jane’s life on Hudson Street does indeed seem like a lost world, is there any urban neighborhood—anywhere—that hasn’t changed in the past fifty seven years? Wouldn’t it be smarter to explore the whys of that change in a broad and relevant context? Shouldn’t we be exploring why the children of suburbia now crave urban living? Shouldn’t we demystify “gentrification” to understand different forms of change, some of...

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A Letter to Prospective Architecture School Parents...

Aug 27, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Eva Hagberg Fisher   COMMON EDGE.ORG Is your child suddenly wearing angular clothes and pretending to need glasses and talking about things like maylines (sorry, forgot we’re not in the 90’s anymore) and 3d-printing and the power of the research lab to change the world studio? Has your child started rejecting your Frank Lloyd Wright photo books and started asking for that super sweet punched-out Chora L Works thing that makes no sense to you because there are literally holes in it? Has your child refused to go on anymore holiday house tours because, seriously mom, this is what I do all day at school? Then congratulations! You now have an architecture school student child. And as much as we have—and need—the framework of, say, Adult Children of Alcoholics, just as deeply do...

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Solar-powered Pipe desalinizes 1.5 billion gallons of drinking water for California...

Aug 23, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by Tafline Laylin   INHABITAT.COM View Slideshow The infrastructure California needs to generate energy for electricity and clean water need not blight the landscape. The Pipe is one example of how producing energy can be knitted into every day life in a healthy, aesthetically-pleasing way. One of the finalists of the 2016 Land Art Generator Initiative design competition for Santa Monica Pier, the design deploys electromagnetic desalination to provide clean drinking water for the city and filters the resulting brine through on-board thermal baths before it is reintroduced to the Pacific Ocean. “LAGI 2016 comes to Southern California at an important time,” write Rob Ferry and Elizabeth Monoian, co-founders of the Land Art Generator Initiative. “The sustainable infrastructure that is required to meet California’s development goals and growing population will have a profound influence...

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TO GET TO NET ZERO, THINK BIGGER...

Aug 20, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Allison Hibbs ROCKY MOUNTAIN INSTITUTE Guest Author The importance of implementing net zero at the district scale   The World Green Building Council (WGBC) just launched a revolutionary project calling for all buildings to reach net zero by 2050 in an action plan known as Advancing Net Zero. The announcement provides a shot in the arm to the net-zero design and construction industry at a global level, further increasing the impetus for governments, developers, and service providers to make ambitious net-zero commitments and action plans across the world. But it also requires the industry to confront a long-standing barrier—the assumption that net-zero buildings come at a significantly higher capital cost than business as usual. In fact, when approaching net-zero energy (NZE) at a district level and leveraging an integrative whole-systems design approach, the...

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artists build floating freedom cove off the coast of vancouver island...

Aug 17, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]     aug 12, 2016   off the coast of vancouver island, a curious and colorful complex floats amidst the calm waters of clayoquot sound. over the last 24 years, ‘freedom cove’ has been the home of canadian artists catherine king and wayne adams, who have built a multi-room dwelling as a sustainable and self-sufficient fortress.     off the grid on a homemade island video courtesy of great big story     video network great big story has recently documented the lives of king and adams at their floating paradise. a lengthy 45-minute boat ride to the nearest town, ‘freedom cove’ is tethered to shore with ropes, not anchors, making the entire habitat a buoyant and dynamic space. included in the complex is king and adam’s main living space, a dance floor, a lighthouse building and...

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Landscape Architecture in the News Highlights (August 1–15)...

Aug 15, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] THE DIRT  J.R. Taylor Rail Deck Park / City of Toronto, via The Architect’s Newspaper Working to Make Public Space for Everyone in Baltimore – The Baltimore Sun, 8/1/16 “For writer D. Watkins, it’s a sense of exclusion from what he called the ‘new’ Baltimore. For student activist Diamond Sampson, it’s a feeling of being unwelcome around the Inner Harbor.” Will Replacing Thirsty Lawns with Drought-Tolerant Plants Make L.A. Hotter?  – The Los Angeles Times, 8/2/16 “Last summer, a revolution occurred in Los Angeles landscaping: Across the city, tens of thousands of homeowners tore up their water-thirsty lawns and replaced them with gravel, turf, decomposed granite and a wide range of drought-tolerant plants at a rate never seen before.” How Noted Landscape Architect Jim Burnett Counters Dallas’ Concrete Jungle – The Dallas Morning...

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DONALD TRUMP AS ARCHITECTURE’S NIGHTMARE CLIENT...

Aug 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Duo Dickinson Not since Thomas Jefferson has there been a presidential candidate more involved in designing and building structures than Donald J. Trump. He has commissioned scores of architects to design millions of square feet in hundreds of locations. You would think that would make him the favorite of our profession: a building insider running the country? How could that be bad for architects?   Well, we kinda know this guy.   This is a bizarre election season in America: collectively we dislike both major candidates. One is a narcissistic caricature of himself, the other has had her “issues” for decades. Forget about political issues, this is identity politics at its most personalized. Few find warm and fuzzies with either.   But architects know one of these personalities: many of us work...

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Why Mexican Squares May Be the Best Public Spaces in the World...

Aug 6, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Dennis Pieprz How do you judge a public space? Is the prototypical, windswept plaza—a winner perhaps of countless design awards—a failure if it’s always empty? Or the row of food trucks parked on a sidestreet a success because it’s always teeming with life (and the wafting plumes of barbecue)? I’d argue that people always vote with their feet: spaces intended to be gathering places should be just that. Unlike evaluations of art and architecture, there’s nothing subjective about public space. Either a crowd shows or it doesn’t. And contrary to the best laid plans of mice and men (and landscape architects and urban designers), the public uses space in unpredictable and ingenious ways. The best urban places are often self-designed, semi-blank slates with a lot of room around the edges for civic...

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Your Green Home of the Future: The LivingHomes Model House...

Aug 4, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Take a sneak peek at this home of the future. By Natural Home staff LivingHomes (C.J. Berg/Sunshine Divis) Slideshow   The standard for green home building just got higher—and the magic number is zero. The LivingHomes model house, built in Santa Monica, California, is a zero-energy, zero-carbon, zero-waste, zero-water and zero-emissions residence—the first of its kind. The home is also the first to receive the U.S. Green Building Council’s highest LEED for Homes rating: Platinum. (LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Here’s a sneak peak at the green home of tomorrow. www.LivingHomes.us • The home is located on an infill site that was minimally disturbed during construction. It’s within walking distance of public transportation, schools, businesses, parks and the beach. • The living roof garden reduces stormwater runoff, helps cool...

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ENERGY EFFICIENT BUILDINGS CAN CUT GAS IMPORTS...

Aug 3, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] By Paul Brown / Climate News Network  VIA TRUTHDIG     Making existing buildings in Europe more energy efficient could create a million new jobs. (Tapio Liller via Flickr) LONDON—A renovation programme to cut greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from buildings in Europe could create a million jobs, provide warmer homes, more comfortable factories and offices, reduce fuel bills across 28 countries, and cut imports of Russian gas, researchers say. This is because buildings are currently the biggest single emitter of GHGs in Europe. Many have inefficient heating and cooling, combined with poor insulation. But with existing technology and political will, they could be transformed into energy producers and become carbon-neutral, says a report produced by OpenEXP, an international group of experts helping policymakers to reach sustainable development goals. According to the report, written by...

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Breaking Ground: Using Housing to Reduce Health Care Costs...

Aug 2, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]   Vanessa Quirk   METROPOLIS MAGAZINE Images Courtesy Michael Moran Boston Road is the newest addition to the Breaking Ground family, a New York City-based organization that provides supportive housing (affordable housing with on-site mental health, health care, and job-training services) for both low-income working adults as well as formerly homeless single adults, many of whom suffer from HIV/AIDS or other mental or physical conditions. Simply put, Breaking Ground employs housing as a strategy for reducing health care costs.Their guiding philosophy is that putting “housing first” infinitely increases the likelihood that an individual can achieve sobriety, live healthier, and contribute actively to society. The philosophy seems to have merit as supportive housing has been proven to be remarkably cost-effective. Between emergency care, shelters, psychiatric hospitals, and jails, the average mentally-ill homeless person costs the city...

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HOW URBAN DESIGN PERPETUATES RACIAL INEQUALITY — AND WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT...

Aug 1, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Our cities weren’t created equal. But they don’t have to stay that way. [Illustration: AvDe via Shutterstock] Diana Budds Cities are complex organisms shaped by myriad forces, but their organization bears the fingerprints of planners and policy makers who have shaped them for decades. At the root of many of these practices is racism, and modern cities bear the legacy of that discrimination. In an era of social protest, when movements like Black Lives Matter are bringing inequality back into the national conversation, it’s time to reassess the practices that have perpetuated these problems—and how we fix them. But the first step is understanding the urban policies that got us here. For decades, planners slashed through neighborhoods in the name of urban renewal and slum clearance, underwritten by federal funding from the Housing...

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Solar powered floating farms: the new means of global food production?...

Jul 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by J HERMAN While the sharp growth in global population that continues to occur in the 21st Century is an indicator of many technological, economical and medical advancements our civilization has made, it presents quite a few challenges that will only grow in coming years. The largest of these? Producing enough food to feed a population that is predicted to exceed 9 billion by 2050. But one viable, creative solution is already floating around thanks to Barcelona-based design firm Forward Thinking Architecture. The company proposes that we make use of Earth’s oceans as a means of harbouring the farms of the future. A fully automated, self-sustainable system The company’s Smart Floating Systems (SFF) are designed to be smart and fully automated to make use of technological advancements in areas such as solar-power, aquaculture and hydroponics...

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In This Amazing City People Live Without Politics, No Religion And No Money...

Jul 30, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] by GOSTICA · Upon learning this, you will think that happened long ago, but no. There is still a place to live, and not say for its scenery, but for their ideals as a society who do not follow the standards to which we are accustomed. In this town there is no money, no religion, no politics. This is truly a paradise to live. Think only in a place where there are none of these factors, where you can finally live in peace. This place exists and is called “Auroville”! It was founded in 1968 and was hailed as an international city by UNESCO, as its inhabitants are over 50 nationalities and different cultures. They coexist without any problem, since they have a political system, have no religion, and on top, do not use...

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Landscape Architecture in the News Highlights (July 1 – 15)...

Jul 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] J.R. Taylor THE DIRT Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times Conservation: Geniuses of Place – Nature.com, 7/6/16 “Ethan Carr traces the arc of influence in landscape creation and preservation from ‘Capability’ Brown to Frederick Law Olmsted and the US National Park Service.” Playful Variation on Ring Forms Performance Space at Ragdale in Lake Forest – Chicago Tribune, 7/8/16 “There’s something about a ring, the kind that gathers people in a circle. From Stonehenge to the layered-stone ‘council rings’ of landscape architect Jens Jensen, circular open-air structures have long liberated us from the straight lines of everyday life and created places for shared experience.” Imagine if the 2 Freeway Ended in a Brilliantly Colored, Eco-Smart Park – The Los Angeles Times, 7/11/16 “There are two ways you can look at the long spur of the...

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Pokémon Go Adds a New Layer to Public Spaces...

Jul 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate]  Pershing Square Park as depicted in Pokémon Go Karen Grajales THE DIRT According to the National Academy of Sciences, “nature-based recreation” has decreased 25 percent in the last 40 years. The average American now spends only one half of a day per week outdoors. Furthermore, kids now spend an average of only 30 minutes or less outdoors each day, half as much as 20 years ago. Is Pokémon Go — the explosively popular game app released worldwide this month — a way to get adults and kids off their sofas and into parks and other public spaces? After a couple of days happily playing the game, my answer is a qualified yes. The qualification: it is possible to play a circumscribed version of the game while sitting at your desk or sofa. But the game...

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DESIGN COMPETITION: A MORE RESILIENT WEST PALM BEACH...

Jul 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Jared Green   THE DIRT Shore to Core / Van Alen Institute and West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency West Palm Beach, a city of nearly 100,000 some 70 miles north of Miami, is grappling with how to protect itself from sea level rise. Much of this long, thin 50-square-mile city fronts the Atlantic Ocean. While in the past this form of development maximized its appeal as a waterfront city, now that exposure elevates their risk. To create a sustainable and resilient future, the West Palm Beach Community Redevelopment Agency has partnered with the Van Alen Institute to create Shore to Core: Vision for a Waterfront City, an  urban design competition, to rethink its future trajectory. The design competition though calls for interdisciplinary teams of designers (landscape architects, urban designers, architects) along with experts...

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PARKS CAN ALSO BE GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE...

Jul 29, 2016 Posted by

[Translate] Aaron King  THE DIRT Historic 4th Ward Park / Beltlandia.com City Parks, Clean Water: Making Great Places Using Green Infrastructure, a new report from The Trust for Public Land (TPL), makes a strong case for leveraging public parks to manage stormwater. The report offers several useful case studies that explain the challenges and opportunities involved in designing parks to act as systems for storing or absorbing excess stormwater. The problem of stormwater, as many readers know, originates with the vast amount of asphalt and concrete used in urban areas. Where once stormwater would have filtrated into the ground, asphalt and concrete shed it toward sewer systems. That water, toting pollutants and grime from streets, gets conveyed to rivers, lakes, and other water sources that people use. It is never cleansed by soils and...

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