In this issue:
- America’s First Transit Incentive Program
- Hong Kong’s Skyline Farmers
- Visual Search Engine for the Entire Planet
- And more!
In this issue:
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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.
By Joana B. Nadieu, AICP
Two and a half years ago I accepted the brand-new position of “Sustainability Champion” as an excuse to get to know more of my colleagues in the Upstate NY Chapter. Having moved to the area not long before to a job that is nationally-focused, I was out of the loop on local trends and players in sustainability.
Fast forward to now: I manage an email list of 87 people for a regional sustainability network, have organized four webinars on sustainability that have reached over 1000 attendees featuring case studies from our region, and put together three state chapter sessions in New York State. Through this work, I have met and learned about planners doing sustainability work from New Hampshire to Washington DC on topics from transportation resilience to sustainable stormwater management and renewable energy.
How did this start? Thanks to great support from Anne Miller (Champions coordinator), Scott Turner (Division Chair), Beth Otto, and others, I established a presence for the Division at regional and state conferences. I started off by snagging a table at the Northeast APA Conference – a special regional conference event hosted by several state chapters – and getting people to sign up for what is now called the Northeast Regional Sustainability Network. We distributed copies of the APA Sustainability Policy, Sustaining Places report, and talked with like-minded community leaders and colleagues in allied professions.
Because of the dispersed nature of those who were initially interested and the lack of state sustainability committees in the region, we opted to meet via conference call and invite anyone who was interested to attend. After one call, the group decided to use webinars as a structure for group conversations and learning. Through the Planners Webcast Series, Northeast Sustainability Network webinars featured:
Our hope was to help connect planners in the northeast with others who have incorporated sustainability into their work, and also give them a platform to share their lessons learned and resources with the national APA membership.
We have been pleased with the diversity of participants and the discussion stimulated by these events among planners far and wide. As the Champion program matures, I hope additional champions will help make more connections across the northeast region and deepen Chapter-level involvement in the Division. I look forward to working with you to create a sustainable future!
Joanna B. Nadeau, AICP, is one of the Divison’s sustainability champions and the director of community programs at Audubon International, headquartered in Troy, New York.
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