College students are flocking to sustainability degrees, careers –

Image SOURCE: Flickr – davidsilver reports

Students interested in pursuing a job in sustainability now can choose from a variety of “green” degree programs.

With an increased interest in the environment and growth in the “green collar” job sector, colleges and universities are beginning to incorporate sustainability into their programs………

Read the full article at the SOURCE: – College students are flocking to sustainability degrees, careers

Tree protection measure requires flexibility

Just read Chris Grygiel of blog post about the new tree measure in Seattle that could grant developers exemption for retaining trees if the trees preclude or prohibit the development of the site. This new tree protection measure seems a ham-fisted attempt at protecting trees which are in current developments (houses, offices, etc) not future developments. I can understand the need for exemption, as cities like Seattle try to encourage development in the city to create denser (in-fill) developments on existing sites instead of allowing urban sprawl to continue unabated. However, exemptions should be given only where the tree is inspected and assessed by a qualified arborist that the tree is at the end of its life or of very poor form for it species. Developers should be encouraged wherever possible to retain all existing mature trees (including tree offsets/buffers) to maintain the green canopy of the city. The benefits of trees within a city are indisputable and the length of time it takes for new trees to mature on a development is decades.

Developers may find this stance very anti-development – however new development should occur within cities to provide denser housing, offices, and retail. This is where more flexibility in tree protection measures are needed. Flexibility would come in the form of clauses that grant exemptions if the developer can show that they are going to plant new trees or install a green roof that contributes the equivalent benefit as the tree to be removed. For a developer to provide the information for this type of exemption may increase the cost of developments as the developer will have to engage consultants to assess the green value of the new trees and green roof. However, the increased environmental cost of trees being removed may be far greater in the long term.

By Damian Holmes
3 August 2009

In the News – Weekend 1-2 August

Bicyclists take to Chicago streets clear of traffic  [Chicago Tribune] (updated with correct link 8/5)

A Fourth Urbanism, Part 6: Limitations on Urbanism [Huffington Post]

Goettsch Partners Wins Design Competition for Soochow Securities Headquarters [contract magazine]

Health center steel tops out [San Diego Source/ The Daily Transcript]

LAUSD selects Clark Construction to build new South Los Angeles High School [Building Design & Construction]

Praying for Robin Hood Gardens’ demolition []

Land-use planning: What did we get for our “smart growth’? []

Volunteers sought to help restore rare wetland [Chicago Tribune]

Chinatown Master Plan 2010 to identify vision and goals for the future [Sampan – New England]

New addition, improvements to greet Zephyrhills High students [Tampa Bay Online]

In the News – July 31

Answers About Public Art in New York – New York Times

Reflective White Roofing Course Garners New AIA Sustainable Design Credits – PRWEB

N.C. Transportation Museum presents Blue Ridge Parkway program –

Architecture Students Win International Design Competition – The University of Texas at Austin

Down the Tubes (Public Meeting about EDAW’s Imperial Beach zoning recommendations) – San DiegoReader

York’s Sumner Winebaum talks about collaboration behind new sculpture –

Homebush Bay tree felling for V8 Supercars

One of the landscape architecture firms involved in designing Homebush Bay – the host site of the 2000 Olympics has come out in outrage that 147 trees have been felled for a motor car race to be held once a year.

Sydney Morning Herald reports

Tony McCormick, from Hassell Pty Ltd, said government and the community had made a huge investment to transform the Homebush Bay(Sydney Olympics) site into a world-leading environmentally sustainable project that had received international prominence…..

Mr McCormick, who led the design team, was concerned over the removal last week of 147 mature trees planted mainly on the median strips at the site in the years leading up to the 2000 Games.

SOURCE: Sydney Morning Herald – Homebush Bay tree felling for V8 Supercars gets black flag

RMJM’s European landscape architecture division rebrands as STRATA

International architecture firm RMJM has announced that its UK-based landscape architectural division, Land, is to adopt the name STRATA.

RMJM’s landscape architects already operate under the name STRATA in the Middle East and Asia. This step will create a single global design brand for the firm’s landscape business.

Land, as it has been known since 2005, is part of the team which was recently appointed to design the Athletes’ Village for the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Other major projects include a mixed use development and public realm masterplan for Maryhill Locks in Glasgow (for client Elder and Cannon Architects and Collective Architecture) and providing landscape architecture services for RMJM’s Okhta Centre project in St Petersburg, Russia.

Viraj Chatterjee, STRATA’s Hong Kong-based Design Director, said; “Our client-base is increasingly international and it’s important that we reflect that in the way we work. Bringing the teams together under one international design brand will help us to share expertise and collaborate more effectively, bringing in talent and experience from around the world in order to meet our clients’ needs.”


Interview with EKLA: U.S. Postal Processing Facility Green Roof

USPS Morgan Processing Facility - EKLA

U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: Sigal Ben Shmuel, EKLA.

The U.S. Postal Service celebrated another example of its environmental leadership as it dedicated its first and New York City’s largest green roof high atop the Morgan mail processing facility.

At nearly 2.5 acres, and safely perched seven stories above the city, the Morgan green roof offers a spectacular panoramic view of midtown Manhattan and the northern New Jersey shore. Its 14 orange-hued Ipe Brazilian wood benches are made from lumber certified sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council. Native plants and trees include Calamagrostis, a lush, maintenance-free grass.

Elizabeth J Kennedy, ASLA

Damian Holmes of World Landscape Architect interviewed Elizabeth J Kennedy, Principal of EKLA about the US Postal Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof to get more of insight into the project.
WLA: When did the project start?
Elizabeth: The roof project is part of a larger facility modernization scope. We began design work for the green roof in late 2007; it is fair to say that, in comparison to other public sector work, it was fast-tracked.

WLA: Did you employ any sub-consultants for soil or other aspects of the design such as planting selection? How did they assist?
Elizabeth: We did not retain an agronomist or soils expert; however, we first worked very closely with the technical departments of several roofing manufacturers with green roof divisions to compare the properties of their respective proprietary lightweight growing mixes, and then extrapolated and researched the available data to determine the basis of the various commercial specifications.

WLA: Besides the green areas is there any other sustainable elements used in the design of the green roof landscape?
Elizabeth: We used concrete utility pavers and roof ballast aggregate which have high Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) values; The benches were made from Forest Stewardship Council-certified dense tropical hardwood that requires no staining or sealant, eliminating the VOCs from entering stormwater systems and the light poles and bollards meet cutoff standards for light pollution.

WLA: Do you think your green roof project is the tipping point for green roofs or are they now seen as essential in city living?
Elizabeth: The project is a tipping point in terms of its actual size – big roof areas provide the opportunity to differently inspire the imagination. Typically, to justify the added cost of this type of installation, a green roof should be “useful,” sufficiently (and significantly) offsetting stormwater runoff, or mitigating heat island effect, or adding to the R value of insulation to reduce heating and cooling costs, to eventually offset the investment; in another context a roof of this size could be a productive urban farm – an idea that is no longer far-fetched in the general public’s mind. Except for farming idea, the Morgan P&D Center project was conceived in part to do all those things; however, in its vastness it is also poetic.

It’s hard to get public agencies to fund poetics. By the USPS’s account the Morgan P&D Center project was a pilot project – an experiment that happened in part because the building had the structural capacity for a roof overburden load. Any programmatic use derived from the structural opportunity and desired operations benefit, not the other way around. In this sense the project was almost McHargian, with a touch of Norberg-Schulz.

I cannot stress enough the critical role the strict budget limit played in getting to a workable scheme and good result – and I deliberately use the word, “limit,” instead of “constraint.” Over the course of several iterations EKLA and URS Corp pared the concept to a simple, elegant solution that could be completed on time and within budget without sacrificing the essentials of good design – that was just right.

WLA: Are you currently designing any other green roof projects?
Elizabeth: This was one of seven projects commissioned in the past two years, including two for hospitals under modernization, and two providing open space for affordable housing; each one has been entirely different from the others. The 2+ acre roof of Morgan P&D Center is the largest in our portfolio; when completed, the green roofs of the WE ACT Environmental Justice Center, will be the smallest in size, at 350 square feet.

I would like to thank Elizabeth J Kennedy, Principal of EKLA for taking the time to give us a more in depth background into the US Postal Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof. – Damian Holmes

USPS Morgan Processing Facility - EKLA

Planting on U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: Sigal Ben Shmuel, EKLA.

USPS Morgan Processing Facility - <a href=

Seating/Work space – U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: Sigal Ben Shmuel, EKLA.

USPS Morgan Processing Facility - EKLA

Sigal Ben ShmuelEKLA project technical coordinator for U.S. Postal Service Morgan Processing Facility Green Roof
Image Credit: EKLA

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