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Burbank EcoCampus_CA

SITES: An ecosystem services framework for built landscapes

In my role as director of the Sustainable SITES Initiative® at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, I observed the development of numerous projects. Too often, the landscape is seen as an afterthought – something to be altered and shaped once elements like buildings and roads are finalized. Rather than be an afterthought, though, how... More
Chicago Green Street

Do Green Streets Actually Work for Stormwater Management?

Green Streets have become a more common feature of the urban landscape in cities and towns across the United States and abroad. And for good reason: they provide substantial value in community aesthetics, redevelopment, livability and environmental compliance. You may know from personal experience or previous blog posts that water resources and ecological engineers use... More
Sidewalk Bioswale_Beyond DC

Research Shows Trees in Bioswales Provide Significant Stormwater Benefits

When we talk about the value of urban trees and soils as a stormwater management tool, the contribution of the trees is often considered secondary. Soil will, of course, store significant amounts of runoff all on its own. However, new research at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle, IL, has found that trees actually provided the largest... More
College Hill Learning Garden from above

No Site Too Small

Imagine you own a small vacant plot, less than a quarter acre, in a quiet residential neighborhood. Its slope and wedge shape makes it less than ideal for development, but it is not serving any purpose sitting vacant behind a fence. It gets plenty of sun exposure, has a nutrient-rich clay soil and is located... More
New York City street

The Sidewalk Gray Zone

As landscape architects, we are often under the impression that because we love urban trees and seeing new trees planted, that everyone around us will love these plantings as well. Some city dwellers do in fact welcome trees with great excitement, but others may see the trees as an intrusion of their private space or... More
SDOT planting strip

What are the major challenges to implementing green streets for stormwater management?

Using green streets for stormwater management has become popular in many cities because they allow engineers, planners, and municipal officials to integrate water quality and regulatory compliance with pedestrian access, safety, traffic calming, multimodal transportation, enhanced community livability, urban greening, aesthetic improvements, and better air quality. The multifaceted benefits of Greet Streets are undeniable, but... More
Douglas Fir Biochar

Improving Stormwater Control Measure Performance with Biochar

If you are a regular reader of this blog, then you know we’ve had a recent spate of articles about biochard – from its history, to a discussion of possible applications and controversies, to a question-and-answer following  a recent webinar about what designers need to know about the product. Because of the tremendous potential for... More
14104470696_f7161ebc88_b

How Much Should You Water Your Tree?

Healthy trees can grow anywhere, including cities, provided they receive enough water, soil, and sunlight. Research shows that vigorous urban trees keep people healthier, cool cities in summer, warm homes in winter, help kids learn better, decrease car accident rates, raise real estate values, and decrease crime dramatically. Even with these myriad benefits, recent heat... More
Market Street - Laughing Squid

You’ll Remember How It Feels

I am lucky enough to live within a (long) walk of my job. I often take advantage of this proximity, walking home along an unattractive stretch of San Francisco’s Market Street. Alternately teeming with tourists or occupied by people who are generally down-and-out, this three mile stretch between work and home leaves a lot to be desired.... More
Lead Image - USDA

The Challenges (and Potential Solutions) with Finding Quality Nursery Stock

It’s no secret to anyone who buys trees that nursery-grown trees, especially container-grown stock, are very prone to root defects such as circling, diving and girdling roots. With the right know-how and attention, some of these defects can be corrected at planting time. However, once roots have become woody, many defects are uncorrectable – and... More