Category Archives: blog

e-Bulletin for 05/04/2017

 

In this issue:

  • Greatest Trees of NYC
  • What’s Next for Hyperloop
  • Convertible Garage in LA
  • And more!

Read the full bulletin online.

GREEN STREETS: A Health Impact Assessment of the Lawrence Green Streets Program

 

In recognition of National Public Health Week (April 3-9, 2017) and in the spirit of APA’s Plan4Health Project, the APA-MA Chapter and SCD Division of APA just released a comprehensive Health Impact Assessment on the Benefits of Streets Trees in the built environment.

The physical environment in which we live is an important determinant of human health. Green infrastructure elements such as street trees can play an important role in the mental health, physical activity, and social interaction of residents. In 2016, Massachusetts planners and members of the American Planning Association’s Sustainable Communities Division partnered with Groundwork Lawrence on a volunteer service project to measure the health benefits of the Green Streets Program. This program’s goal is to plant 2,400 trees throughout the City of Lawrence over a 3-year period. To promote the program and achieve this goal, APA-SCD worked collaboratively with Groundwork Lawrence and residents in Lawrence to conduct a Health Impact Assessment to analyze the potential health benefits of street tree planting in the City. The result was a comprehensive assessment and evaluation of the physical, environmental and social impacts of street tree planting in Lawrence.

The final report provides an overview of the Green Streets Program HIA process, a summary of findings, recommendations and the resources that were developed by the APA-SCD team to achieve the Green Streets Program goals.  Deliverables include an Infographic highlighting the benefits of street trees in a community, a logo and a tagline to boost participation in the Program: Good for Lawrence – Great for You. The deliverables were translated into Spanish to engage the large Latino population in Lawrence. Throughout the project, the APA-SCD team documented their steps to ensure this process could be replicated by planners in any community. For more information, please contact:
Neil Angus, AICP, neilangus@devensec.com or
Angela Vincent, AICP, avincent@mvpc.org.

e-Bulletin for 04/06/2017

In this issue:

  • National Planning Conference
  • APA-SCD Elections
  • WikiBlock Open-source Toolkit
  • And more!

Read the full bulletin online.

e-Bulletin for 03/23/2016

In this issue:

  • America’s First Transit Incentive Program
  • Hong Kong’s Skyline Farmers
  • Visual Search Engine for the Entire Planet
  • And more!

Read the full bulletin online.

e-Bulletin for 03/09/2016

In this issue:

  • Wichita’s guerilla bike lanes
  • Portland’s Adaptive Bikes
  • Strong Towns Podcast
  • And more!

Read the full bulletin online.

e-Bulletin for 02/23/2016

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In this issue:

  • From a Blighted City Block to an Ecovillage
  • Comprehensive Plan Standards for Sustaining Places
  • Shareable Housing for Seniors
  • And more!

Read the full bulletin online.

INTEGRATING NATURAL RESOURCES INTO A SITE PLAN

By: Pete Pointner, FAICP, ALA, ITE

 

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Green infrastructure is all of the elements of the natural environment that influence and support human communities – urban, suburban and rural. These elements include wetlands, surface and ground water, forests and native landscapes, urban streetscapes, parks and open space. Therefore, consideration of natural resources in site planning is central to the concept of Green Infrastructure.

The benefits of green infrastructure are many. At all scales of consideration, there are significant benefits of green infrastructure. Environmentally, it helps reduce greenhouse gasses, moderate temperature extremes, provide wildlife habitat, and preserve prime agricultural land and rural character. It can purify and return rainwater to groundwater aquifers and protect and enhance the functioning of ecosystems. Socially, green infrastructure provides people with aesthetic, recreational and health benefits by creating pedestrian and bicycle pathways to and within green areas.  Economically, trees and green plant materials can reduce flooding, improve property values and create an environment conducive to social interaction and commerce. There are many techniques for integrating green infrastructure into a site plan.  These are described and referenced in my article which is available on the Sustainability Divisions web site.

There are many techniques for integrating green infrastructure into a site plan.  These are described and referenced in my article which is available on the Sustainability Divisions web site.

The process for this integration is critical to achieving the environmental, social, economic and health benefits of green infrastructure. This article identifies the process in terms of: the importance of an interdisciplinary team; the identification and response to the direction given by the program from the client; the identification, evaluation and documentation of planning factors; and the necessity of balancing trade-offs in the evolution of a site plan. The article concludes with two illustrative case studies which show how the recommended process was applied.  The first is for an approved plan for a 158.4 hectare (396 acre) mixed use development with residential, retail/service and office components in Woodstock, Illinois.  The second covers site selection and planning for a boarding school campus within a 480 hectare (1,200 acre) forested parcel adjacent to a wilderness area in northern Wisconsin.  This school, with “environment” a key component of the teaching curriculum, has been implemented and is in operation.  Each case study presents the key components of the process: defining the program; the team formation; the existing conditions; and the planning response in terms of green infrastructure.  These two case studies have been adapted from two of the 19 case studies contained in the author’s book, “Planning Connections – Human, Natural and Man Made”. For more information on Green Infrastructure, Low Impact Design and Sustainability see, “Readings in Urban Planning and Design”, available via petepointnerplanning.blogspot.com.