How Cities Can Be Environmental Solutions

Kaid Benfield’s recent blog post about seeing cities as environmental solutions rather than environmental problems is really, truly excellent. He argues that to save the natural landscape we need to work on keeping people in “people habitat” by creating compact urban areas that are efficient and desirable places to live, work, and play.

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TED Talk on Canopy Conservation

I liked this (short) TED talk from Dr. Nalini Nadkari, a faculty member of Evergreen State College who researches the role that canopy-dwelling plants play in forest ecosystems. Even if you just want to watch the first few minutes, it is worth it for the incredible shots of climbing a very, very tall strangler fig… More

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The Silva Cell As A Low-Cost Solution

Suspended pavement trenches with adequate amounts of soil are a great solution for growing healthy, mature street trees — downtown Charlotte and the Christian Science Center in Boston are just two examples of how fantastic the results can be. These two systems are 25 and 43 years old, respectively, and the trees look incredible. Still,… More

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Oldest U.S. Suspended Pavement Installation

The Christian Science Center, on Huntington Ave between Mass Ave and Belvidere Street in Boston, is the oldest suspended pavement installation that we know of in the United States. These trees were planted in 1968, making them 43 years old.

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Bamboo’s Many Uses

In my last entry I talked about the three different types of bamboo. Many people may not know this, but the United States is home to a native species of temperate (running) bamboo called arundinarea gigantean (river cane). Because most of the U.S. has a cold winter, our native bamboo (running) grew from the gulf… More

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Cultural Sensitivity and Street Tree Planting

A few weeks ago I was in a meeting with the chief of staff for a San Francisco supervisor. She mentioned that there are entire areas of the city — those that are predominantly Chinese and Chinese-American — where city tree planting is very limited due to cultural beliefs in feng shui. I’d heard the… More

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The Basics of Bamboo

I run a business called Burton’s Bamboo Garden, so as you can imagine, I know a lot about bamboo, and I get a lot of questions about it from customers. Today, I want to talk about the basics of this amazing plant.

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How to Use US EPA SWMM to Model Silva Cells for Stormwater

Earlier this year I was able to provide you with some resources to help you model Silva Cells using HydroCAD, which is geared toward modeling the single storm event. Now I’d like to be able to do the same with US EPA SWMM, which is a continuous storm water model.

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Is There a Silver Lining to Shrinking Detroit?

Something interesting and unorthodox is happening in Detroit. You may have read about it a year or two ago when it first got started: Mayor Dave Bing has started an open-ended discussion about how to shrink Detroit so that its population is more densely arranged around the infrastructure it can afford to maintain.

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The Future of Urban Forestry

There is an interesting online discussion happening in the Urban Forestry group on LinkedIn right now about the future of urban forestry. I think about this question a lot, and the discussion was a good excuse to put some of my thoughts down on paper.

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