July 15, 2008

Rocky Mountain Institute, abundance by design

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency has been a major focus for Rocky Mountain Institute since its inception, and most of its present activities grew out of a strategy of targeting sectors with the biggest energy-saving opportunities.

RMI's early energy work was aimed mainly at electric utilities and oil companies, advocating the advantages of reducing demand through efficiency rather than simply increasing supply. In recent years we've shown many other types of companies and organizations how they can boost profits by using energy more productively.

panel discussion on Negawatt energy:

Negawatt Energy Policy April 1996 special issue on the future of DSM

RMI energy library archives (Negawatt)

First Solar Town, http://www.soldiersgrove.com/History.htm

Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin

The pioneer of sustainable redevelopment for flood communities is Soldiers Grove, a picturesque village of about 600 on the banks of the Kickapoo River in southwest Wisconsin. Nearly 20 years ago, after decades of repeated flooding, residents decided to build a new town center on higher ground. The new Soldiers Grove was officially completed in 1983.

Soldiers Grove was ahead of its time for a number of reasons. First, by opting to relocate, the villagers chose to work with the river rather than attempt to control it. They chose mitigation at a time when dams and levees were hailed as monuments to society's dominion over nature.

Second, Soldiers Grove saw the relocation project not just as an opportunity to duplicate their old town, but as a chance to create something much better. Rather than rush to get buildings up and running as quickly as possible, the villagers took their time.

Beauford T. Anderson Park - Soldiers Grove

Perhaps the most dramatic outcome of that careful planning process was the decision to make all of the new town center buildings energy-efficient and solar-heated. Soldiers Grove became the first business district of its kind in the nation. The village passed ordinances stipulating that new buildings be built to specific thermal performance standards and obtain at least 50 percent of their heating needs with solar systems. Residents also passed a solar access ordinance to ensure that future buildings don't block the sun for existing structures.

Finally, Soldiers Grove pioneered the concept of "multipurpose recovery" for hazard-prone communities. The villagers used the occasion of relocation to solve a number of community problems. The energy efficiency and solar ordinances helped to keep valuable energy dollars from escaping the local economy. The old floodplain was developed into a well-used municipal park. The town center was once again adjacent to the state highway, which had bypassed the old town in the 1950s, hurting businesses. A second municipal well and reservoir were built outside the floodplain, and sewer and water services were extended into new areas, paving the way for future growth.

The steps taken by Soldiers Grove in the late 1970s are just as viable today, 20 years later. But although today's disaster-prone towns have better tools at their disposal, there remains much to be learned from Soldiers Grove in the area of organizing people. Even the most progressive and well-thought-out sustainable development plans will fail without the full support of the community. (article by http://www.freshstart.ncat.org/case/soldiers.htm).


June 23, 2008

New York Water System

New York City's water supply system has grown from a few wells on Manhattan Island to one of America's most extensive municipal systems. Today, it relies on a combination of tunnels, aqueducts and 19 reservoirs both in the city and far upstate to meet the daily needs of 8 million residents and countless visitors. Thanks to well protected wilderness watersheds, New York's water treatment is simpler than in other American cities. Downhill flow allows the system to do without pumps.

The complex system is divided into three separate systems:

  • The Croton system, the oldest and smallest, sits in Westchester and Putnam Counties.
  • The Catskill system, built decades later, is significantly larger then the Croton. In the early years of the 20th century, the city and state designated thousands of acres in the eastern Catskills to build two reservoirs that more than doubled the city's capacity.
  • In the 1950s and 1960s, the city expanded its water system again, tapping the east and west branches of the Delaware River, as well as other tributaries of the Delaware and Hudson rivers to create the newest and largest of its three systems, the Delaware system, which provides around half of the city's water supply.

The Croton system is the source of numerous turbidity issues for the city's water. Engineering studies in 1903 also recognized that the clay of the steeply sloped Eastern Catskills turned the clear waters of the Schoharie and Esopus Creeks (which feed the Catskill system) muddy after storms. In addition, both the Cannonsville reservoir of the Delaware system, as well as many reservoirs within the Croton system have also had quality issues related to algeal blooms.

The city has sought to restrict development throughout its watershed. One of its largest watershed protection programs is the Land Acquisition Program, under which the New York City Department of Environmental Protection has purchased or protected through conservation easement over 70,000 acres (280 km²) since 1997.[1]

World's 1st mobile water purification system debuts - April.26.2005

chelsea_pier62.jpgJean-Michel Cousteau, explorer, educator, environmentalist and film producer, joined business executives yesterday, in New York, in launching the first water purification unit that converts polluted water into drinkable water.

The 12-meter-long mobile emergency filtration system, or MEFS, which was on display at a Manhattan pier in Chelsea,(pictured), took in large quantities of the Hudson River and converted the brown liquid into clear water during a process that took about 15 minutes, as reported by Kyodo News and published by Japan Today.

The unit, which is the first of its kind, is capable of producing 60,000 gallons of high-quality water per day and was created by Ecosphere Technologies, a subsidiary of UltraStrip Systems, Inc.

The self-contained unit could be installed on an emergency or temporary basis and would be capable of providing enough water for the daily needs of 10,000 people.

New York Water System: Reservoir Management

the water test:

Many New Yorkers say they drink bottled water because it tastes better, but ABC's 20/20 did a blind taste test.

They offered people New York City tap water and five other bottled waters, Evian, the top-selling bottled water Aquafina, Poland Spring, Iceland Spring (which comes all the way from Iceland), and American Fare, a discount brand from Kmart, which sells for less than half the price of Evian.

"In our test of bottled waters, Kmart's American Fare — the cheapest brand — won. Big-seller Aquafina came in second.

Iceland Spring tied the ordinary tap water for third place. Fifth place went to Poland Spring, and in last place, by far, with almost half the testers saying it tasted bad, was the most expensive water — the fancy French stuff, Evian.

"It tasted like toilet water," one man said.

Evian had no comment about that review.

Bottom line, if you buy bottled water because you think it's healthier than tap, test after test shows no evidence of that. And if you buy fancy brands because you think they taste better, you're probably just buying the hype. " ::ABC

Note: While New York City may have some of the best water around, your building may compromise it with old lead pipes. Read Umbra in Grist.

June 22, 2008

LANDSCAPE: Greensburg, Kansas, GreenTown

Rebuilding Greensburg

Eleonore de Lusignan

After the tragic tornado storm that swept through Greensburg, Kansas on May 5th, 2007, the town is left to rebuild itself from scratch. So why not doing it right and making it the most sustainable in America? With the support of FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) Greensburg has established a Long-Term Community Recovery Plan that as stated sustainability as there number one priority. The decision made along several town meetings, energy use was put on top of the list and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory has established a field office in the town.

Green Source:

There’s a constant tension between rebuilding as fast as possible and making the right decisions. But because Greensburg was already on a slow, steady decline prior to the tornado,” explained Hardy, “residents know that if they were to simply jump in and rebuild exactly as before, there’s no reason that trend would change. They recognize that and want to do something different.”

Greensburg-based companies are using the disaster as an opportunity to advance their businesses by embracing environmental responsibility.


TH: So what led to the desire of the townspeople to rebuild green?

BD: I think several things have contributed to it. Number one is that we’ve all been called to be good stewards of what the lord has blessed us with, and that’s just naturally going green because we’ve all become aware that the fossil fuel resources are running out. So we’ve lessened our use of fossil fuels and cut utility bills; sometimes without spending a tremendous amount of money by 30, 40, even 50 percent.

In rural America we are the original recyclers and our forefathers and pioneers knew the advantages of passive solar heat with their animals and homes, and geothermal energy as well, using it through dugouts and cellars with root crops. They were aware of all that technology generations ago. So that’s where we go back to as our roots; take care of the land because it takes care of you.

And being close to nature has also really spurred us on now that we’ve had the opportunity to rebuild from scratch. " Treehugger


Planet Green’s GREENSBURG docu-series premieres June 15th!

WATER: Greywater Guerrillas

The Greywater Guerrillas are a collaborative group of educators, designers, builders, and artists who educate and empower people to build sustainable water culture and infrastructure.

According to the New York Times, they are "a team focused on promoting and installing clandestine plumbing systems that recycle gray water — the effluent of sinks, showers and washing machines — to flush toilets or irrigate gardens." with a mission: “It’s about trying to use resources to their full potential and interact with ecosystems in a beneficial way.”

This is not just using a hose to spray your garden with shower water, this is a sophisticated recovery system. the picture above shows "A pipe running from the house deposits shower and sink water into an elevated bathtub in the yard that is filled with gravel and reeds, and the roots of plants begin filtering and absorbing contaminants. The water then flows into a second, lower, tub, also containing a reedbed, before flowing into a still-lower tub of floating water hyacinths and small fish."

recently published "Dam Nation: Dispatches from the Water Underground"

Dam Nation is a people's history of water—and the water grid; a detailed accounting of the fallout from a century of Manifest Destiny's attacks on wild rivers. The book traces how—across five continents—beleaguered commoners block the neoliberal makeover of the world and endeavor to restore balance between humans and watersheds. These strategists and innovators blow open the scarcity myth to show how local democratic control coupled with watershed restoration can provide water for everyone.

What is graywater ?
Any water that has been used in the home, except water from toilets, is called graywater . Dish, shower, sink, and laundry water comprise 50-80% of residential "waste" water. This may be reused for other purposes, especially landscape irrigation.

Why use graywater ?
It's a waste to irrigate with great quantities of drinking water when plants thrive on used water containing small bits of compost. Unlike a lot of ecological stopgap measures, graywater reuse is a part of the fundamental solution to many ecological problems and will probably remain essentially unchanged in the distant future. The benefits of graywater recycling include:

Lower fresh water use

Less strain on failing septic tank or treatment plant

Graywater treatment in topsoil is highly effective

Ability to build in areas unsuitable for conventional treatment

Less energy and chemical use

Groundwater recharge

Plant growth

Reclamation of otherwise wasted nutrients

Is graywater legal?
In practice, greywater legality is virtually never an issue for residential retrofit systems—everyone just bootlegs them. However, graywater legality is almost always an issue for permitted new construction and remodeling, unless you're in a visionary state such as Arizona or New Mexico. For details see our Grey water policy center and Builder's Graywater Guide (book).

LANDSCAPE: New Chinese Cities, Bill McDonough + Partners

Leap frogging to future sustainable cities in China.

Eleonore de Lusignan

After the success of Bill McDonough's book Craddle to Craddle, China has implemented it into there government policy and McDonough's + Partners was given the responsibility to design 7 new cities with the expectancy that 400 million new Chinese citizens will need new homes within the next 12 years. For starts, Bill has begun designing two city plans: Guantang Chuangye Sustainable Conceptual Master Plan, and Tangye New Town Concept Master Plan.

Guantang Chuangye Sustainable Conceptual Master Plan
Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, People's Republic of China


This concept master plan aspires to indicate, through design strategies, a future that is positive and hopeful in all aspects.

Striving to maximize social engagement, the plan creates an urban structure that promotes walking and healthy activities in its multitude of parks, paths and trails. The development will also preserve existing stream and wetland communities, returning clean, healthy water to the ecosystem at equal rates and in the same patterns of the undeveleped site through the use of integrated strategies. Befitting its designation as a demonstration project, the plan demonstrates what is possible in Liuzhou, in China, and in communities around the globe. The project serves as a challenge to seek excellence in placemaking that will enable Liuzhou’s children to live and work in concert with a world full of potential and opportunity."
Ningbo View (image courtesy of EDAW and William McDonough + Partners)

"Each of the demonstrations feature cradle to cradle design principles that are gaining recognition in part due to the recent Chinese printing of the book “Cradle to Cradle: Exploring Design for the Circular Economy” by William A. McDonough and Michael Braungart.

The sustainable design of urban centers is of vital importance to China and the world. In the coming two decades, 300-450 million people will move from the countryside to China’s cities. This year alone, China will build 5 billion square feet of new housing and consume 40% of the world’s production of cement. Over 65% of China’s cities are in a water shortage and 90% of urban watersheds are considered contaminated by Chinese government standards.

The China-US Center for Sustainable Development’s strategic goals are to set the standards for sustainable development and build the human and organizational capacity to achieve them. The Center’s mission is to accelerate sustainable development so that commerce, communities and nature can thrive and prosper in harmony – what China is now calling a “circular economy.” "

Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang AR

Tangye New Town Concept Master Plan
Jinan, Shandong Province, People's Republic of China


This concept plan outlines a sustaining vision for a new administrative and cultural center for the government of the Licheng District in rapidly growing Eastern Industrial Zone east of Jinan. Working under the guidance and support of the China Housing Industry Association and the China-U.S. Center for Sustainable Development, the design team has developed conceptual plans for a new urban district that would house 180,000 people and embodies the principles of Cradle to Cradle Design.

The plan develops a framework for achieving the ultimate goal of safe, healthy and delightful solar-powered cities. By considering issues beyond the initial use and operations of the development, the plan supports later adoption of emerging technologies and systems not readily available at the time of construction. For instance, proper orientation and solar access will enable the town to install photovoltaics should current trends continue make solar energy equal in cost to coal-fired electricity by 2016.

The pattern and organization of development responds to site-specific environmental features, systems, and flows. Vegetated fabric defines a patchwork of developable areas that imply a network of residential neighborhoods and commercial/public precincts. A series of linear parks running from east to west convey storm water to existing gullies and provide a setting for neighborhood amenities and a structure for pedestrian and bicycle routes throughout the new district. The plan also facilitates the integration of innovative infrastructure for water, wastewater, and energy production and use.

In addition to benefiting the people of Jinan, this anticipatory design provides a replicable model for a country embarking on a campaign to house 400 million people in the coming decade, giving China the opportunity to redefine cities in ways that lead the world in the realization of truly sustaining future."

" Under the guidance and support of the China Housing Industry Association and the China-US Center for Sustainable Development, William McDonough + Partners with the support of WSP Environmental LLC was commissioned to create a concept master plan that embodies the principles of the Cradle-to-Cradle Design Protocol and sustainable design.

The concept plan aspires to indicate, through design strategies, a future that is positive and hopeful in all aspects; one that:
- Maximizes social engagement and community
- Creates an urban structure that promotes walking and healthy activities
- Effectively leverages the scarce land available for development
- Promotes alternative and renewable technologies
- Treats water as a precious resources
- Improves the quality of storm water leaving the site
- Uses biological resources to build and restore soil quality
- Restores habitat and biodiversity
- Learns from and respects the quality of the land and people"


We lay the city out so everyone can move in parks without crossing traffic, the buildings have daylight lighting, the university is at the centre, and with hi-tech connectivity
William McDonough, architect

BBC News

Metropolis: Eternal Optimism

The Great Green Leap Forward: Energy-Hungry China and India Leapfrog to the Front of the Global Green Building Movement

By Kevin Sullivan

Resources: The Revolution Begins

LANDSCAPE: The Ford Rouge Plant, D.I.R.T Studio

Revitalizing a Sustainable Industrial Landscapes.

Eleonore de Lusignan

The Ford Rouge project in Dearborn, Michigan is a collaborative effort between Bill Ford, Bill McDonough, and D.I.R.T to remediating the landscape of one of our most historical and monument factories in the automotive industry. The main focus has been on the use of phytoremediation, a process that uses plants to treat polluted environments by absorbing or digesting toxins to clean the contaminated soil, water and air. The expert in this field, Clayton Rugh, has his installed a central scientific laboratory at the Ford Rouge power plant and is in charge of directing this process.

"In 1999 McDonough entered into an agreement with Ford Motor Company to redesign its 85-year-old, 1,212-acre Rouge River facility, an ambitious and innovative industrial/environmental makeover that will require 20 years--and $2 billion--to complete."

Overview by Will McDounough and Partners:

"This landscape master plan celebrates the potential to bring natural and industrial systems together to create a productive, regenerative landscape.

Henry Ford’s vision of linear production fundamentally reshaped the American manufacturing system --and provided a compelling framework for the transformation of this historic industrial site. Embracing Ford's heritage of innovation and business strength, the plan draws its inspiration from the features of the site and gives shape to the themes of linear production, historical legacy, and environmental regeneration. The large-scale interplay between the industrial and natural systems creates a new model for the regeneration of air, water, soil, and habitat through natural processes.

Devised for implementation over two decades, the design enables an orderly flow of people and delivery of materials through the site. A rectilinear pattern of hedgerows, swales, and trees reinforces the pre-existing street grid and creates a system that filters the millions of gallons of stormwater and reestablishes wildlife habitat.

The plan also reshapes Miller Road, the thoroughfare along the Rouge's eastern edge, as a tree-lined public boulevard highlighting the site's industrial heritage.

Additionally, the complex hosts groundbreaking research in phytoremediation. Researchers identified a dozen plants that successfully absorb and neutralize polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons from the soil and established a 1.6-acre demonstration garden and research lab near the old coke oven by-products operations.

By rebuilding the processes of the site, the plan recreates the 20th century’s preeminent model of vertically integrated industry as a replicable model of sustainable manufacturing and a positive legacy for the future.

Ford Rouge Plant, Dearborn, MI. PILOT PROJECTS + PROTOTYPES: Storm water channels and porous paving retention beds (under the Mustangs), native shrub mosaics and phytoremediation research plots. Collaborators: Ford Motor Company, William McDonough + Partners, architects; Nelson/Byrd, landscape architects; Cahill Associates, engineers; Dr. Clayton Rugh, scientist.
from Archinect


D.I.R.T website

Think Green, Metropolis

May 1, 2008

Landscape - Suggestions

Have we missed an idea, proposal, policy or project that pertains to the landscape that can be realized in the short term and yields environmental benefits? Make a recommendation, include a summary and link to an image as a comment under this post. Refer to posts dated between 4/12 to 4/13.

Please note, all comments are moderated so if we think its interesting it will be posted here only after its approved.

Buildings - Suggestions

Have we missed an idea, proposal, policy or project that pertains to buildings that can be realized in the short term and yields environmental benefits? Make a recommendation, include a summary and link to an image as a comment under this post. Refer to posts dated between 4/10 to 4/11.

Please note, all comments are moderated so if we think its interesting it will be posted here only after its approved.

Water - Suggestions

Have we missed an idea, proposal, policy or project that pertains to water that can be realized in the short term and yields environmental benefits? Make a recommendation, include a summary and link to an image as a comment under this post. Refer to posts dated between 4/14 to 4/15.

Please note, all comments are moderated so if we think its interesting it will be posted here only after its approved.

Transportation - Suggestions

Have we missed an idea, proposal, policy or project that pertains to transportation that can be realized in the short term and yields environmental benefits? Make a recommendation, include a summary and link to an image as a comment under this post. Refer to posts dated between 3/3 to 3/9.

Please note, all comments are moderated so if we think its interesting it will be posted here only after its approved.

Energy - Suggestions

Have we missed an idea, proposal, policy or project that pertains to energy that can be realized in the short term and yields environmental benefits? Make a recommendation, include a summary and link to an image as a comment under this post. Refer to posts dated between 3/10 to 3/11.

Please note, all comments are moderated so if we think its interesting it will be posted here only after its approved.

Food - Suggestions

Have we missed an idea, proposal, policy or project that pertains to food that can be realized in the short term and yields environmental benefits? Make a recommendation, include a summary and link to an image as a comment under this post. Refer to posts dated between 3/12 to 3/17.

Please note, all comments are moderated so if we think its interesting it will be posted here only after its approved.

April 27, 2008

RadioHead cancel US concert to protest airplane carbon emissions

Radiohead go green for live show
Thom Yorke

Radiohead have decided not to travel to the US for a promotional performance because of concerns over global warming.

The Oxford five-piece are due to appear on a special edition of NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

The band opted to record a live version of House Of Cards in London rather than fly over to the US for the one-off performance.

Radiohead will appear on the show on Wednesday as part of NBC's Green Week.

Frontman Thom Yorke said the band avoided leaving a carbon footprint equivalent to driving a car for a solid year by recording the track in London.

Climate Change

Radiohead always consider the carbon footprint when on tour
Thom Yorke's fears over climate change made him back the Big Ask campaign which urges ministers to bring in laws to reduce C02 emissions
He refused to discuss climate change with Tony Blair because he felt the fromer PM had "no environmental credentials"
The band have been long time campaigners on green issues with Yorke recently guest editing The Observer Magazine to promote climate change awareness.

Yorke also recently urged politicians to introduce sweeping measures to cut carbon emissions by 2020.

"If we don't get stuck in now, in 20 years' time it will be worse and things will be more extreme," he said.

The band kick-off their In Rainbows world tour with a show in West Palm Beach, Florida, on 5 May.

April 14, 2008

Water–Bottled Water

Water–Bottled Water
Mary Banas

Why bottled water? (or why not bottled water...)
• Bottled water bottles are made from oil, a limited resource. Just making the containers alone consumes more than 1.5 million barrels of oil annually, enough to fuel 100,000 cars for a year, according to the Earth Policy Institute. (Maybe we should get rid of the cars, but that’s a topic for another time.)

• It takes a lot of oil to transport bottled water from supposedly pristine springs all over the world to us. That bottle of Fiji water really does come from Fiji — and it doesn’t walk here by itself.
And all those trucks eventually clog our roads and double park in front of stores and offices to deliever their unneeded goods. But that’s just the production half of the equation, there’s the disposal too:

• Thirty million bottles end up in landfills every day — and considering that New York doesn’t have its own landfill anymore, we have to pay to dump our empty water bottles elsewhere.

• New York City tap water is safer and better than bottled water anyway. The Environmental Protection Agency’s standard for tap water, for example, is stiffer than the Food and Drug Administration’s standard for bottled water. Plus, our tap water tastes better than all those fancy waters (the Aquafina that’s bottled in Queens actually is New York City tap water — which is then distilled and reconfigured with Aquafina’s proprietary mix of minerals.)

How it works?

• The world spends $100 billion a year on bottled water at a time when the United Nations says that just $15 billion could double the number of people who have access to safe drinking water.

• And, rich people consume far more bottled water than poor people — so if tap water quality declines, it will fall to the politically less powerful to fight for cleaner water because the rich have turned their backs on the entire system.

What the individual can do:

1. At home, use a cup and fill it with tap water
2. On the go bring along a reusable hard plastic bottle and refill as necessary with tap water, remember to wash it periodically.
3. At the office, leave behind some mugs and cups that you can use there, again washing them periodically - the same applies to your morning coffee
4. If you end up having no choice and bottled is all there is available, save that bottle and reuse it later when you see a tap or a water fountain.

• less carbon
• utilizing resources close to home instead of depleting those half way around the world (like the island of fiiji)
The Pacific Island Countries also face critical water supply and contamination problems because of the inability of governments to maintain ageing water reticulation and treatment systems set up during the colonial period. Fiji has the largest water system in the Pacific Islands based on an economy of scale, but this is a legacy from when Fiji was a British colony. The system has deteriorated steadily since Fiji became independent and is now a major impediment to future tourism development. Between 1991 and 1995, for example, the amount of water lost through broken pipes, leaks, and clandestine connections increased from 36% to 43%

Implementation in other cities
City of NY---campaign to drink tap water

The City of New York is trying to persuade its people to give up bottled drinks and consume tap water instead to help protect the environment.

According to published reports, the city is pouring $700,000 of taxpayer money into ads promoting New York City water.

New York City boasts wonderfully clean water piped in from six huge reservoirs west of the Hudson in the Catskill mountains, as far as 125 miles from Manhattan. The city is currently running a huge campaign for New Yorkers to "Get Your Fill." But is New York water really that clean? ABC news' 20/20 took 5 bottles of national brands and a sample of New York water to be tested by a microbiologist. They found no difference between the samples.


Water-Tips to Green you Water

How to Green your Water

1. No drips
A dripping faucet can waste 20 gallons of water a day. A leaking toilet can use 90,000 gallons of water in a month. Get out the wrench and change the washers on your sinks and showers, or get new washerless faucets. Keeping your existing equipment well maintained is probably the easiest and cheapest way to start saving water.
2. Install new fixtures
New, low-volume or dual flush toilets, low-flow showerheads , water-efficient dishwashers and clothes washing machines can all save a great deal of water and money. Aerators on your faucets can significantly reduce water volume; water-saving showerheads can cut the volume of water used down to 1.2 gallons per minute or less, and some even have a “pause button” to let you stop the water while soaping up or shampooing. Our interns recently pointed out that “spending about $30 on low-flow showerheads and faucets is estimated to save 45 gallons of that 260 gallons of water [used in a typical household per day], almost 18% of your usage. Splurging on a low-flow toilet could save another 50-80 gallons of water a day. Together, those changes nearly cut in half the household's daily use, saving a considerable amount of water – and passing that savings on to your water bill, as well as your water heating bill.”
3. Cultivate good water habits
All the water that goes down the drain, clean or dirty, ends up mixing with raw sewage, getting contaminated, and meeting the same fate. Try to stay aware of this precious resource disappearing and turn off the water while brushing your teeth or shaving and always wash laundry and dishes with full loads. When washing dishes by hand, fill up the sink and turn off the water. Take shorter showers or, as the old joke goes, shower with a friend: Treehugger TV shows you how. To put things in perspective, take a quick look at your next water bill when it arrives. It probably won’t be costing you too much, but the average household consumes multiple thousands of gallons each month. See if you can make this number go down. If you’re the graphing type, go nuts.
4. Stay off the bottle
By many measures, bottled water is a scam. In most first-world countries, the tap water is provided by a government utility and is tested regularly. (You can look up your water in the National Tap Water Quality Database) Taste tests have shown that in many municipalities, tap water actually tastes better. Bottled water is not as well regulated and studies have shown that it is not even particularly pure. A four-year study of bottled water in the U.S. conducted by NRDC found that one-fifth of the 103 water products tested contained synthetic organic chemicals such as the neurotoxin xylene and the possible carcinogen and neurotoxin styrene. (Grist) Much bottled water doesn’t come from a “Artesian springs” and is just tap water anyhow. (Coca-Cola adds salt to its Dasani water to make it taste better, just like fast food.) Not only is it more expensive per gallon than gasoline, bottled water incurs a huge carbon footprint from its transportation, and the discarded bottles are a blight. It’s no wonder that some people even think it’s a sin. If you want to carry your water with you, get a bottle and fill it. (Look here for some advise on durable, non-toxic container options.) If your water at home tastes funny, try an activated charcoal or ceramic filter. Here is a comparison of home-use water filters from Grist.
5. Go beyond the lawn
Naturalize it using locally appropriate plants that are hardy and don’t need a lot of water. If you have to water, do it during the coolest part of the day or at night to minimize evaporation. Here is a useful calculator to figure out landscape water use. Xeriscaping is a method of landscaping that utilizes only native and low water plants. It is an especially appropriate approach for states like California and Arizona where people often plant lawns like they live in Florida despite living in the desert.
6. Harvest your rainwater
Put a rain barrel on your downspouts and use this water for irrigation. Rain cisterns come in all shapes and sizes ranging from larger underground systems to smaller, freestanding ones. Some even glow!
7. Harvest your greywater
Water that has been used at least once but is still clean enough for other jobs is called greywater. Water from sinks, showers, dishwashers, and clothes washers are the most common household examples. (Toilet water is often called “blackwater” and needs a different level of treatment before it can be reused.) Greywater can be recycled with practical plumbing systems like the Aqus, or with simple practices such as emptying the fish tank in the garden instead of the sink. The bottom line? One way or another, avoid putting water down the drain when you can use it for something else.
8. At the car wash
Car washes are often more efficient than home washing and treat their water rather than letting it straight into the sewer system. But check to make sure that they clean and recycle the water. Better yet, try the waterless car wash. If you live in Manchester, the Levenshulme Baptist Church is recycling water from its Baptistery pool for charity car washes http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/08/baptismal_water.php .
9. Keep your eyes open
Report broken pipes, open hydrants, and excessive waste. Don’t be shy about pointing out leaks to your friends and family members, either. They might have tuned out the dripping sound a long time ago.
10. Don’t spike the punch
Water sources have to be protected. In many closed loop systems like those in cities around the Great Lakes, waste water is returned to the Lake that fresh water comes out of. Don’t pour chemicals down drains, or flush drugs down toilets; it could come back in diluted form in your water.


The Water Saving Hero campaign highlights simple and effective steps Bay Area residents can take to conserve water now and for the future. This site can help you learn more about water conservation programs and cash rebates provided by your local utility. With these resources you can become a Water Hero, saving water and money throughout your home and business.


April 13, 2008

Landscape- Urban Agriculture, Chicago Farm

City Farm: Chicago, Illinois

urban sprawl is eating up

farms as suburbs expand.

"Why not bring farms to the city?"

City Farm is a project of the Resource Center, the city’s oldest nonprofit recycling program. The idea behind City Farm is that an urban farming program is not just about raising food, but also about doing it with minimal environmental impact.

THERE ARE more than 80,000 vacant lots in Chicago and the way Ken Dunn sees it, there's the potential for thousands of jobs. Founder of the Resource Center, a Chicago-based nonprofit environmental organization,

City farm started investigating whether intensive urban farming could provide enough income to support a house hold

"We found that by planning and planting carefully, you can create a job for an individual on about 10,000 square feet or about four lots,"

The anchor of the urban farming program is the center's static pile composting operation. The center contracts with bars, restaurants and grocery stores for food residuals; it has agreements with the Chicago Police Stables for its horse manure; and it accepts yard trimmings from landscapers - producing approximately 10,000 cubic yards/year of compost.

Another link that must be strong is the one between the farm and the community. An ideal situation, Dunn explains, has been established between a farmer and a school that has an adjacent plot of land. The farmer is allowed to use the land in exchange for teaching students about growing produce in a school gardening curriculum. "The nice thing about that situation is that one of the requirements of having an urban farm is having a relationship with the community and with the kids," says Dunn.

Four restaurants and three farmers markets currently purchase the produce. Contracts with restaurants are especially helpful because the fees are paid up front. On the other side, the chefs are paying for convenience and peace of mind. "We've discovered an attractive mix," Dunn notes. "Chefs don't have the time to purchase everything themselves or train a staff member what to look for. Our growers consistently produce the quality in appearance and taste that the chefs require and deliver it to the restaurant."­


Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company.


Landscape- Stormwater Management, Green Streets Portland Oregon

Green Streets Portland, Oregon

1. Manage stormwater runoff both at the source and the surface.
2. Use plants and soil to slow, filter, cleanse, and infiltrate runoff.
3. Design facilities that aesthetically enhance the community.

* traffic calming
* increases livability
* increases community involvement

Other Benefits
* recharges groundwater supply
* stormwater harvesting for reuse
* reduces runoff volume
* cleans automobile drips of hydrocarbons and other pollutens (bioremediation)
* stores large volume of water

Managing stormwater runoff from the street through vegetated planters for flow and water quality benefit. A green street retrofit which manages stormwater at the source through a vegetated swale, while enhancing the neighborhood.

Stormwater Facility Science
The surface area of a typical stormwater facility allows runoff to pond and evaporate while sediments settle into a layer of mulch. The organic mulch layer prevents soil bed erosion and retains moisture for plant roots. It also provides a medium for biological growth and the decomposition or decay of organic matter. The soil stores water and nutrients to support plant life. Worms and other soil organisms are very good at degrading organic pollutants, like petroleum-based compounds. They also help mix organic material, increase aeration,
and improve water infiltration and water holding capacity. Bacteria and other beneficial soil microbes process the majority of pollutants, including most of the nitrogen. The stiff structure of plants such as rushes and sedges slows water passage and traps sediments within the surface area of the facility.

Mt Tabor Middle School
This summer, the City will build stormwater management facilities at the school and on SE 57th Avenue just south of Pine Street. The project will feature a raingarden, infiltration planters, and a stormwater curb extension. Over the last year, Environmental Services has worked closely with Portland Public Schools and the Portland Office of Transportation to design these facilities. The new systems will dramatically reduce the amount of runoff draining to the sewer, and reduce the risk of sewer backups in homes on Pine Street. These attractive facilities
are designed to improve the school grounds and the urban environment, in addition to managing runoff.

SW Hillsdale
Construction is completed on two water quality planters in downtown Hillsdale in southwest Portland. The planters will treat stormwater runoff from 20,000 square feet of SW Capitol Highway. Runoff will enter the planters through curb openings and filter through soil to remove pollutants. The filtered water will flow into a storm sewer that drains to Fanno Creek. Each planter will have shrubs to improve their appearance, provide root structure to help maintain soil infiltration, and create habitat for soil organisms that help break down pollutants. The City will evaluate these planters, along with another design installed at New Columbia in north Portland, for potential use at other locations.

SW Texas
This summer, the City will build stormwater facilities along SW Texas Street to treat, detain and dispose of drainage from 17-acres bounded by SW California Street, SW Nevada Court, SW Capitol Highway, and SW 26th Avenue. The project will consist of a combination of conventional
stormwater conveyance systems and stormwater swales to manage runoff from roofs, driveways, and streets.

This project is the City’s response to a citizen-led initiative. This flexible, innovative project meets the needs of the neighborhood,helps meet regulatory requirements, and improves quality of life. The completed green street improvements will direct runoff away from homes and backyards, alleviate basement flooding, and reduce street erosion. The project will also protect
the City’s sewer infrastructure by managing stormwater that contributed to problems downstream in the Burlingame sewer.

NE Fremont and 131st Place
This project is the first in Portland to manage street runoff and accommodate a ramp crossing for pedestrian safety. The City removed 400 square feet of asphalt on either side of the pedestrian ramp and installed a variety of plants. Stormwater enters the vegetated area on the
west side through a curb cut and flows under the ramp to the vegetated area on the east side. The soil and vegetation slow runoff flow, filter sediments and pollutants, and allow the stormwater to soak into the ground, which reduces the burden on the combined sewer system and recharges groundwater. This was a collaborative project between Environmental Services and the Portland Office of Transportation. The two bureaus will team up on future projects to manage stormwater runoff, protect pedestrians and increase neighborhood livability.

Maintenance Policy Development
Because the number of Portland green streets is increasing, the City is drafting a formal green street maintenance policy to ensure facilities have long, productive lives and to let property owners and neighbors know what their responsibilities are. The main responsibility is simple maintenance. Neighbors and property owners should keep litter, brush and trees out of the green street facility, and shouldn’t stack or store anything in it. All other maintenance will be conducted by the City.

Owners would be responsible for items needed to maintain the facilities such as yard debris bags
and tools. The draft policy also recommends sending regular green street update letters or flyers to property owners and neighbors. The City wants to make sure that as new neighbors move in, they learn about their neighborhood green street and their maintenance responsibilities. We also want neighbors to know when city scheduled maintenance has occurred at a facility.

Gathering performance information on green streets and other stormwater management facilities is an important part of Portland’s Sustainable Stormwater Management Program. The City uses the information to determine which designs work best in specific locations to help plan and design new green street projects. So far, the City has tested the NE 35th and Siskiyou green street and the Glencoe Rain Garden. Tests at NE 35th and Siskiyou show the facility
cuts peak stormwater flows to the sewer system by an average 85% and that it captures and infiltrates all the stormwater during most rain events. The test shows the facility is effectively doing what it was designed to do, reduce residential basement flooding.

The City built the Glencoe Rain Garden at SE 51st and Morrison in response to a severe basement sewer backup problem on a residential street. Stormwater runoff from 35,000 square feet of asphalt flows into the rain garden. The facility captures all the runoff from small rain events and it reduces peak flows by an average 80%. Tests on green streets at SE 56th and Ankeny and SW 12th and Montgomery showed both facilities are meeting expectations. The tests also indicated the need for some simple design modifications to make the facilities more effective. This spring, the City will do more tests including the stormwater curb extension
at NE 131st and Fremont.

*images above from SW 12th Avenue Green Street Project, Portland, Oregon
Kevin Robert Perry, ASLA, Sustainable Stormwater Management Program, City of Portland, Oregon

Environmental Services City of Portland, Green Street News Projects around the city
Green Streets Tour Map

Landscape- Sustainable South Bronx: Green Roofs

Green Roofs:

A green roof system is an extension of the existing roof which involves a high quality water proofing and root repellent system, a drainage system, filter cloth, a lightweight growing medium and plants.

Green roof systems may be modular, with drainage layers, filter cloth, growing media and plants already prepared in movable, interlocking grids, or, each component of the system may be installed separately.Green roof development involves the creation of "contained" green space on top of a human-made structure. This green space could be below, at or above grade, but in all cases the plants are not planted in the "ground'. Green roofs can provide a wide range of public and private benefits.

"Heat Island Effect":

Heat absorbency by roofs and pavement, air conditioner use, and the power plants that supply electricity for them help to create what is known as the Urban Heat Island Effect. This can exacerbate certain health conditions, and lead to more air conditioner use in a vicious cycle that costs government and individuals money. About 20% of NYC’s surface area is covered by non reflective roofs, so there is plenty of room to work with.


Temperature Reduction and Energy Conservation:

Reduced cooling costs by keeping the heat off the building and increasing the amount of insulation. Improved longevity for the roof by minimizing wide temperature fluctuations and exposure to the elements.

Stormwater Management:

Green Roofs provide a way to prevent overflows by absorbing and holding onto the majority of water that falls on them during a typical rain. This water is then slowly released from the soil and into the atmosphere through the foliage – in a process called transevaporation.

Improved Air Quaility:

The amount of Oxygen produced by one tree with a 16 foot diameter canopy is equaled by the amount of Oxygen produced by a 16 square feet patch of green roof with 15 in. high foliage.
In NYC, it costs over $1000 to plant a small tree that takes years to grow that big, but it costs far less to build 16 square feet of green roofs today.

Vegetative surfaces also trap harmful airborne particulates and keep them from entering our lungs, and can dampen noise pollution too. Pollutants in the air are less harmful under lower temperatures that these roofs maintain.


Retrofitting and existing building with a green roof costs more than a conventional roof, but this investment yields cost savings over time through energy conservation and rooftop longevity. A green roof can also increase the resale or rental value of a property, as well as provide aesthetic enjoyment for you in the meantime.


Sustainable South Bronx:

Founded in 2001 by life-long South Bronx resident, Dr. Majora Carter, SSBx addresses land-use, energy, transportation, water & waste policy, and education to advance the environmental and economic rebirth of the South Bronx, and inspire solutions in areas like it across the nation and around the world.

Landscape- CityTrees

CityTrees is a volunteer-based non-profit organization improving the environment and building community in Redwood City through a coordinated program of tree planting, pruning, and education. CityTrees works in close conjunction with the City of Redwood City Public Works Services Department. Since 2000, CityTrees has planted over 1,800 new trees in Redwood City. Our pruning program helps ensure the young trees we plant grow strong and healthy.

CityTrees raises funds for the purchase and maintenance of trees through grants, local business sponsorship, and individual memberships and contributions. CityTrees also recruits volunteers from the community to plant and maintain trees, and has established a number of ongoing partnerships with service groups and businesses.

The community organization of CityTrees could provide a solid foundation for community development while increasing Denver's Arboreal Infrastructure (see Ron Henderson above).

Their history http://www.citytrees.org/planting_history.html



April 12, 2008

Landscape- Las Gaviotas/ what can I do?

The eco-village known as Las Gaviotas is a research center located in eastern Colombia, South America. It is the only project in the world with a twenty-three year track record of the sustainable regeneration of tropical rain forest. As of this year, las Gaviotas will have successfully reforested 8,000 hectares (20,000 acres) of fully canopied, poly-culture rain forest.

The results of this success are many. They include:
• Pure drinking water.
• 10% increase in annual rainfall.
• Dramatically decreased surface soil temperatures.
• Net cooling effect.
• Sustainable living wage economy for indigenous population.
• Development and use of alternative sources of energy.
• Proliferation of plant species, 253 at last count and rising.
• Sustainable sources of lumber, resin, cashew and bio-fuels.
• Sensible and sustainable management of natural resources.
• A model for sustainable third world rural development.

As a result of this success, Las Gaviotas has 144,000 tons of carbon offsets to offer on an annual basis. This tonnage of annual carbon sequestration is calculated using formulas developed in response to the Kyoto Treaty on Global Warming known as the Kyoto Protocol. The 8,000 hectares of existing maturing tropical rain forest is the source for this annual tonnage of carbon offsets.

90% of all donations received by the Marion Institute in support of this initiative will pass through directly to ZERI Eje Cafetero in Colombia to fund the planting regimen and related research at Las Gaviotas. 10% of the funds will remain with the Marion Institute to cover the costs of administering the program and to fund the ZERI Learning Initiative. The ZERI learning Initiative is devoted to the training of teachers in how to teach systems thinking and sustainability to K-12 age school children throughout the US.


Landscape- Arboreal Infrastructure


Sustainable Technologies for Urban Transformation
Balancing systems for an ecological urban transformation

key words: ecological infrastructure
urban forest
landscape urbanism

In the middle of our life's path I found myself in a dark forest, where the straight line was lost. (Dante, Inferno 1:1-3)
Ecological infrastructures, such as aquatic and arboreal systems, are insidious agents in urban -regional territories. These infrastructures are dynamic fields of biology and metabolism that are inhabited by human and non-human ecosystems alike.

One of these, the urban forest - or what could be called Arboreal Infrastructure - is the matrix of urban forest that is, worldwide, the most rapidly expanding forest of all. As global cities expand, they inherit edge conditions that are more densely forested than the historic city centers so the percentage of forest cover increases. Additionally, municipalities such as Beijing and Chicago have aggressively acted to enlarge the arboreal infrastructure of their metropolitan regions. Beijing has planted over 30 million trees in the past ten years. Chicago has planted fewer, but these are strategically located as part of the transportation infrastructure - the largest and most "everyday" of the more traditional communication and transportation infrastructures.

The mechanism for the expansion of these urban forests are national and municipal policy initiatives that quantify the tree canopy coverage as a percent of the total land area of these municipalities. Twenty five percent tree canopy coverage has been identified by the United States Department of Agriculture as a threshold at which significant ecological benefits are produced from the urban forest. In a small city such as Providence, Rhode Island (population 180,000) the increase in canopy from 18% to 25% will require the planting of a flock of 37,000 trees. Beijing recently announced that it had achieved the 50% tree canopy coverage it promised the International Olympic Committee prior to the 2008 Olympic Games.

A brief history of the transformation of urban tree planting from agricultural plot to microclimate enhancements to delineators of urban space will be reviewed with a conclusion outlining current shifts in urban forest policies from beautification to ecology as the basis for the planting and management of the urban forest. Advances in the technology of arboriculture will augment this review and amplify the artifice of ecology in the urban forest.

Ron Henderson is a landscape architect based in Providence, Rhode Island USA. He is Visiting Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Landscape Architecture Design Studios in the newly established Department of Landscape Architecture at Tsinghua University, Beijing PRC. He is also Visiting Assistant Professor of Architecture at Roger Williams University, Rhode Island USA and founding principal of L+A Landscape Architecture. He directs a policy initiative, Arboreal Infrastructure, that coordinates national, state, municipal, academic, non-government organizations, and professionals that has resulted in the drafting, review, and adoption of one of the most advanced ecological municipal landscape ordinances in the United States.
1500 bc fresco of garden high official's tomb trees, orchards, palms, groves, vineyard, pools, birds, pavilions, .... already the components of all gardens of all times were already represented. (Vercelloni, 1990) repetition - groves and orchards - not individual plants (Far Eastern)

15C Milan Filarete's Sforzinda palace-garden (Vercelloni, 1990, pl. 28) roof garden rather than a garden BESIDE the palace

Jacopo De'Barari's bird's eye view of Venice coincide with those shown on Francesco Colonna's Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, published by Also Manuzion a year earlier in 1499. The walled gardens are tended but the public realm is less tended and wild. (Vercelloni, 1990, pl.31)

June 29, 1545, the Senate of the Serennissima Repubblica di San Marco decreed the establishment of the first botanical garden in Europe, in Padua, on the Venetian mainland. 1,168 species classified in beds using monastic wisdom and recent scientific knowledge. (Vercelloni, 1990, pl. 39)

Jacques Androuet de Cerceau' Les plus excellents bastiments de France (Vercelloni, 1990, pl. 43) extroverted garden

what is the difference between gardens, parks, and forests JDHunt first second and third nature

Gabriel Thouin, 1820, published a tableau in his treatise on gardens. These might also record the various classifications of arboreal use: economy, agriculture, botanical, pleasure. Do we now add ecology ? (Vercelloni, 1990, pl.166)

"This isn't yours," he repeated, "because it's the ground that's yours, and if I put a foot on it I would be trespassing. But up here, I can go wherever I like." Baron in the Trees, p. 19

Trees seem almost to have no right here since my brother left them or since men have been swept by this frenzy for the ax. And the species have changed too; no longer are there ilexes, elms, oaks; nowadays Africa, Australia, the Americas, the Indies, reach out roots and branches as far as here. What old trees exist are tucked away on the heights; olives on the hills, pines and chestnuts in the mountain woods; the coast down below is a red Australia of eucalyptus, of swollen India rubber trees, huge and isolated garden growths, and the whole of the rest is palms, with their scraggy tufts, inhospitable trees from the desert. Baron in the Trees, p.17

Beauty demands peace; peace depends on a new contract. Serres p.25

The only strong or concrete reason that peoples and states have found to join forces and institute a lasting truce among themselves is the formal idea of perpetual peace, an idea that has always been abstract and inconsequential because nations have been able to consider themselves, as a group, alone in the world. Nothing and nobody and no collectivity was above them, and thus no reason. >

Since the death of God, all we have left is war. >

But now that the world itself is entering into a natural contract with the assembled peoples, however conflicted their assembly may be, it gives the reason for peace, as well as the sought after transcendence. >

We must decide on peace among ourselves to protect the world, and peace with the world to protect ourselves. Serres, p. 25

Most of Toronto's ravine parks run north-south and lack the east-west connections that could allow animals to move from watershed to watershed. The land included in the existing parks is also often steeply sloping; there are few good examples of upland areas that include interior spaces protected from obvious human disturbances, such as trampling. Downsview offers a rare opportunity to establish protected interior habitat and to simultaneously connect two north-south ravine systems (the Don and the Humber River systems). With careful spatial strategies in design and management, this infrastructure could be built to support biodiversity while encouraging humans to enjoy social recreation. it is not an "either/or" choice but rather a matter of establishing an informed basis to achieve "both/and." The basic idea is not new, but I believe that explicitly creating an infrastructure that supports regional biodiversity on a site-by-site basis while recognizing cumulative effects would be a new goal for urban design. (Hill, in Downsview, p 98)

Infrastructure is a prevalent term among the Downsview projects that can be posited as an operation, architecture and landscape are both understood as originary conditions in an urban environment, where a natural or real ground no longer exists. According to this point of view, the notion of infrastructure challenges the idea of a seamless, naturalistic, or naturalized surface that blurs particularities and differences, by making visible the graft that joins landscape to architecture, opening both toward a new definition of urban space. (Pollak, Downsview, p.45)

Tree Ecology. The designer is wise to respect certain ecological relationships among trees. Trees associated in nature have a more comfortable appearance when used together; they are usually complimentary in color and texture, and have similar cultivation requirements. When they are used together maintenance is obviously simpler than when trees with different moisture and soil requirements are grouped. (Zion, p.83)

The potential of trees in shaping and humanizing cities remains an unperceived amelioration for a civilization that has nearly forgotten the relevance of art in civic design. paradoxically, the opportunity to use trees as part of the city has been impeded by confusing the intrinsic characteristics of the forest and the city. Current urban planting design tries to represent the way trees grow in nature. This is our inheritance from the nineteenth century. The proper use of trees in cities should reinforce the structure of the city according to the disciplines of urban design, not plant ecology. Unity, continuity and scale have more consequence than natural history in weaving together the diverse threads of the urban fabric. The civic designer, like the artist and craftsman, expresses his understanding of nature not by copying but by creating an interpretation of our elusive relationship with the organic world. (Arnold, p.41)

The word 'forest' comes from the Latin 'foris,' which means outdoors or away from civilization. Forest shares an etymological root with "forum," an outside place.

-sen, -lin
Early Urban Forests

Difficulties Studying Early Urban Forests
The history of urban forestry is difficult to document by conventional research techniques. The green infrastructure of urban areas does not preserve as well as the gray infrastructure and archeologists are not actively searching to uncover evidence of ancient landscapes. Urban forests are not as well documented in literature and historical documents. Since a significant portion of early urban forests existed in open space, they were probably then, as they are now, sacrificed to make way for urban sprawl.
Reasons for Early Urban Forests
As early as 2,000 - 3,000 BC, Egyptians were lining ceremonial routes with trees. Around the fifth century BC, Athenians installed public gardens and street trees in their city and maintained them with elaborate irrigation and drainage systems (Hyams, 1971). Roman emperors had trees planted along routes in cities to make it easier for troops to navigate through urban areas. Kublai Kahn mandated the planting of trees along major urban routes so his armies could still follow the assigned routes during sand and snow storms.

Hyams, E. 1971. A History Of Gardens And Gardening. New York: Praeger Publishers

Prior to, and during, the Middle Ages, some cities set aside open areas for military exercises and citizen enjoyment. No evidence exists that any attempt was made to landscape these open areas. The city of Antwerp undertook two aggressive tree planting initiatives during the Middle Ages (mid- to late-1500s) making them one of the earliest pioneer cities in urban forestry. Antwerp’s first urban forest consisted of a landscape that was designed and installed along public walks and gardens just within the fortified walls of the city (Girouard, 1985). This new urban forest became very popular and attracted wealthy merchants that purchased adjacent land in order to build their homes around the gardens. During the same time period, Antwerp accommodated their citizens with a second tree planting initiative along a series of elevated earthworks (ramparts) built as fortifications during the Renaissance. The city planted a triple row of trees that shaded the citizens as they strolled along the old fortifications and enjoyed the views and fresh air turning these old fortifications into tree-lined boulevards (Girourard, 1985).
Paris improved upon Antwerp’s boulevard concept with an extensive planting of elm trees along an avenue called Cours La Reine. Instead of landscaping an existing open space associated with the city’s fortifications, the Parisians planted trees along existing avenues, creating some of the earliest tree-lined avenues. The primary purpose of these tree-lined avenues was for socialization. Wealthy citizens dressed up and rode in their ornate carriages while others, on foot, promenaded under the shade of the elm trees. In addition to the social spectacle, citizens enjoyed a view of the Seine river, fresh air, and cooler temperatures.

Girouard, M. 1985. Cities And People: A Social And Architectural History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press

Evolution of the Tree-lined Boulevards
Raised earthen ramparts were usually built as a defensive structure and served as a boundary between the city and country. Trees may have been planted on the ramparts to help conceal the location of the town and to strengthen the embankment against cannon fire. Influenced by the tree-lined ramparts of Antwerp and the Cours La Reine, Parisians performed an extensive tree planting initiative on ramparts around Paris in the 1670s (Girouard, 1985). At this time, warfare with cannon artillery had evolved making the city’s ramparts no longer effective as defensive barriers. The trees were planted on the ramparts in four rows to create a central drive for carriages and two sidewalks for pedestrians. These tree-lined boulevards eventually became connected and experienced an increasing volume of traffic. Citizens preferred traveling along the shaded boulevards instead of the congested, noisy, treeless streets of the inner-city. By the late eighteenth century, tree-lined boulevards were spreading across France and Europe and the term boulevard was no longer associated with ramparts of fortifications.
During the eighteenth century, the French improved the tree-lined boulevards and avenues and demonstrated how trees could be planted in uniform rows to establish spatial boundaries (Kostoff, 1991). Napoleon also helped to shape the urban landscape around this time by widening all of the major avenues to decrease the opportunity for protestors and invading forces to erect roadblocks. Napoleon propagated these wide tree-lined boulevards in countries that he conquered.
Influential designers in the mid-eighteenth century, like Andre Le Notre, were routinely planting multiple rows of trees along major avenues in Paris to achieve an architectural goal of structural space (Kostoff, 1991). The incorporation of tree-lined avenues soon became an established practice in urban design and continues today.

Girouard, M. 1985. Cities And People: A Social And Architectural History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press
Kostof, S. 1991. The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. Boston: Little, Brown and Company
History of Urban Forests in American
Due to the haphazard growth of Jamestown there was no attempt by the early settlers to plan for landscaped areas. In fact, the citizens were slow to even plant gardens since they were preoccupied with the more profitable practice of raising cattle and tobacco. The Virginia Company had to pass a law in 1629 requiring the Jamestown settlers to plant gardens (Hyams, 1971). Williamsburg’s layout was probably influenced by European urban design so that in addition to broad, straight streets there were also open spaces (Brinkley and Chappell, 1996). These open spaces, or village greens, were at the center of colonial villages in New England and used by the local militia for mustering and drilling and by the local residents as a common pasture for livestock and horses. By the late eighteenth century trees were planted in village greens and along streets. Early American cities, like British cities, had tree-lined streets in residential areas but not in city centers. Kostoff (1991) recognizes a distinction between avenues, which were primary traffic streets, and boulevards, which were broad, straight roads with landscaped medians. Boulevards were often located around the periphery of cities and used to connect parks. As in Paris, vehicular traffic eventually took over the boulevards for rapid transport across cities to avoid congested city streets.
The French tree-lined avenue influence was evident in Pierre Charles L’Enfant’s design for Washington, D.C. L’Enfant purposefully designed broad avenues to facilitate the planting of trees and open spaces for monuments and for use by the public. In 1869, two influential landscape architects, Frederick Law Olmstead and Calvin Vaux, famed designers of Central Park in New York City, increased the public’s awareness of tree-lined streets in residential areas with their design of Riverside, Illinois. Olmstead and Vaux purposely designed and insisted on the installation of thousands of trees along the curved streets of one of America’s earliest planned suburban residential neighborhoods. It’s important to note that Olmstead and Vaux scaled their design for pedestrians – not vehicles (Kunstler, 1993). Sadly, as long as vehicles rule the residential roads, we will not be able to experience the vistas and other experiences designers such as Olmstead intended around our homes and communities.

Brinkley & Chappell, 1996.....
Hyams, E. 1971. A History Of Gardens And Gardening. New York: Praeger Publishers
Kostof, S. 1991. The City Shaped: Urban Patterns and Meanings Through History. Boston: Little, Brown and Company
Kunstler, J.H. 1993. The Geography Of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline Of America’s Man-Made Landscape. New York: Simon & Schuster

Federal and State Involvement
Before the economic and ecological benefits of urban forests were known, tree planting was performed as a part of a beautification effort to block undesirable views. In the early and mid-1950s, landscape architects often used trees to create the perception of open space since available space was being rapidly developed to support increasing urban populations. It should come as no surprise that the origins of the federal urban and community forestry assistance grant program was rooted in the perceived need to beautify urban areas. President Johnson initiated a task force on natural beauty and one member of this task force, Whyte (1965), proposed a landscape-townscape program that was eventually included as a provision in the Housing Act of 1965. The Department of Housing and Urban Development modified Whyte’s original provision and titled it “Urban Beautification.” This program provided 50 percent matching grants for landscaping and beautification efforts for communities. This money went directly to local governments, bypassing state governments. In 1978, Congress recognized that urban forests improve the quality of life for residents and that the health or urban forests were on the decline. The Congress passed the Cooperative Forestry Assistance Act to provide financial and technical assistance to improve urban forests across the United States.
Current State of Urban Forests Across the United States
In order to determine if urban forests are increasing or decreasing across the United States an accurate baseline must first be established. Using satellite imagery, high-altitude photography, and computer software (CITYgreen) American Forests has been able to document a change in tree cover over urban areas across the United States. CITYgreen software generates a detailed inventory of vegetation by combining the images and photographs with available field data. In Washington, D.C., American Forests calculated the heavy canopy cover (acreage with 50% or more tree cover) and discovered that between 1973 and 1997 there was a loss of 64 percent (American Forests, undated). Based on a survey of 20 cities, a third of the cities only planted one tree for every eight removed, and about half of the cities faired slightly better by planting one tree for every four removed (Moll, 1987).
Moll, G. 1987. The State of Our Urban Forests. American Forests May/June.
Whyte, W.H. 1968. The Last Landscape. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, Inc.


Arnold, Henry, Trees in Urban Design, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1993
Calvino, The Baron in the Trees. Translated by Archibald Colquhoun, New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1959
Harrison, Robert Pogue, Forests, the Shadow of Civilization, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992
Hill, Kristina, "Urban Ecologies: Biodiversity and Urban Design," in Julia Czerniak, Case: Downsview Park Toronto, Munich: Prestel, 2001
Pollak, Linda, "Building City Landscape: Interdisciplinary Design Work in the Downsview Park Competition," in Julia Czerniak, Case: Downsview Park Toronto, Munich: Prestel, 2001
Sauer, Leslie Jones, The Once and Future Forest, Washington D.C.: Island Press, 1998
Serres, Michel, The Natural Contract. Translated by Elizabeth MacArthur and William Paulson, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 1995
Vercelloni, Virgilio, European Gardens: An Historical Atlas, New York: Rizzoli, 1990
Vico, Giambattista, The New Science. Translated by T.G. Bergin and M.H. Fisch. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1968
Zion, Robert, Trees for Architecture and the Landscape, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company, 1968
CCTV 12 March 2006 6:30 pm report:

-12 billion trees planted in China in past 5 years
- in 2005, 3.79 million hectares planted
- nationwide, 18.21 canopy coverage

-50% canopy coverage in Beijing achieved - as promised to IOC

How does one walk in a straight line through a forest ? rph p.113

not just enough to imagine the rational consequences of the urban forest - the mystery of Vico's giants of the Grimm Brothers must present itself in the rationality of the street tree.

p.211 rph forests cannot be owned

The only true shelter on earth is the earth itself. rph 234
Arboreal infrastructure and the accomplishments Wangari Maathai. Arboreal Infrastructure has been endorsed as an agent of Peace.
Do trees equal peace ?


How does one walk in a straight line through a forest ? The mind's eye immediately conjures a dense forest, Bavaria or Virginia perhaps. Yet these forests are in decline in quality and quantity globally.

In the United States, the only forest that is growing is the urban forest. Suburbanization and mineral extraction are reducing the area of the forests. Climatic shifts and pollution of many sorts are degrading the forests that remain. Yet, in cities as diverse as Beijing (population 15.0 million) Chicago (population 2.5 million) and Providence (population 180,000) the urban forest is being expanded.

As a significant component of a comprehensive analysis of urban ecological systems, the urban forest

No one has ever won the Nobel Peace Prize for building a structure, but they have won for planting a tree.


1. 1. All trees and other vegetation in and around dense human settlements. http://hermes.richmond.edu/urbanforests/glossary.html
2. 2. Created where people congregate and build communities. Since humans are the main inhabitants of the urban forest, they largely determine the tree species in this forest. http://www.lpb.org/programs/forest/glossary.html
3. 3. For the purposes of micro-climate regulation, aesthetic value and water absorption, certain area shall be designated as urban forest. http://www2.bonet.co.id/dephut/41-99-1.htm
4. 4. Forests in, next to or nearby a specific urban area, of which the decision-making processes on desirable functions are dominated by local actors and their objectives, resulting from their perceptions, norms and values. Urban forestry is believed to differ structurally from forestry at large in terms of the geographical location, structure and ownership of the forested area, as well as in terms of the density of (recreation) facilities, actors involved in policy-making, major uses, policy instruments and the occurrence of social conflicts and dynamics of policy processes. http://www.efi.fi/publications/Working_Papers/12.html
5. 5. The approach was to use an urban forest concept with the concept of the 20-20 rule. The 20-20 rule referred to development sites preserving 20% of total lot planting area and 20 trees per acre being required as a measurement of urban forest. http://www.cityofdenton.com/council/minutes/021798.html
6. 6. The term we use for ALL the trees and woods within the Black Country. http://www.nufu.org.uk/htmfiles/bcuf.html
7. 7. The sum total of all vegetation growing in urban areas - www1.br.cc.va.us/.../module/ overview/A101a.htm
8. 8. The trees, forests, and associated organisms that grow near buildings and in gardens, green spaces, parks and golf courses located in village, town, suburban, and urban areas http://www.forestry.utoronto.ca/ac_staff/emeritus/My%20Webs/english.htm
9. 9. The trees, woodlands, woody shrubs, ground vegetation and associated green space within the urban environment http://www.susdev.gov.mb.ca/wildlife/misc/glossary.html
10. 10. The vast supply of recyclable paper produced in our cities, particularly office paper, represents a considerable untapped resource and has been coined the “urban forest”. http://www.foe.co.uk/camps/indpoll/paper.htm
11. 11. Urban Forest - The current EMO defines urban forest as performing several functions. Two of these functions require that an urban forest be located in the front of site along the roadway. Thus, if a site has urban forest in the rear or along the sides, the urban forest does not qualify to meet the 10 percent requirement. However, the EMO grants a credit (in the form of an increase in the percentage of the actual area preserved) if the urban forest is preserved along the front of a site. This is an obvious conflict in the EMO. Staff is proposing to correct this problem by clarifying that an urban forest may perform any one of the functions itemized in the definition, but not necessarily all of the functions. Thus, if a site has urban forest in the rear or the sides, it can qualify to meet the 10 percent requirement. The definition of urban forest also states that an urban forest is measured by using the tree drip line. The drip line of a tree represents the vertical projection (on the ground) of the outer perimeter of the crown of a tree. The problem with utilizing the drip line of a tree to measure urban forest is that measuring the drip line of a tree is not a standard technique that is typically used in the field by site designers. This measurement is also difficult to obtain for deciduous trees which lose their leaves in the fall. To correct this problem, staff is recommending that the term drip line be replace with the term "critical protection zone." The critical protection zone is a standard that is currently defined in the EMO and has been traditionally used and is accepted by site designers to comply with the EMO’s tree removal section. The critical protection zone is a circle surrounding a tree described by a radius of one foot for each inch of the diameter of the trunk of a tree. A public hearing has been scheduled to be held on May 3, 1999, before the Tallahassee-Leon County Planning Commission on Ordinance No. 99-O-0020. The Planning Commission will review the ordinance for consistency with the Tallahassee-Leon County Comprehensive Plan. http://fcn.state.fl.us/citytlh/agenda/1999/990512/29.htm
12. 12. Urban or community forestry is the planning for, and management of, a community's forest resources to enhance the quality of life. The process integrates the environmental, economic, political, historical, and social values of the community to develop a comprehensive management plan for the urban forest. A community in this definition is an area of human settlement in a rural or metropolitan region. The urban or community forest includes the vegetation, open space, and related natural resources of the area. http://www.ag.uiuc.edu/~forestry/guide/pref.html
13. 13. We simply mean all trees and shrubs growing in populated areas. http://www.dnr.state.md.us/forests/education/shed.html