In the News – September 9

Urban design guidelines find favour with developers [The Standard – St Catherine]
Instead of seeing the guidelines — meant to improve the quality of infill development in a landlocked city — as obstacles, developers should see them as being beneficial……

Halifax Regional Municipality seeking public art advisor [The Chronicle Herald]

Halifax Regional Municipality in Canada is seeking a consultant to advise city officials on the development and management of an outdoor public art collection.

Stormwater management not needed behind library[Gazette.net]

The county’s Department of Environmental Protection says it will not conduct stormwater management work behind the Aspen Hill Library after learning more about expansion plans for the facility.

Free visits to city’s beautiful buildings in Bath, UK [thisisbatk.co.uk]

During the next few days several beautiful buildings in and around Bath which cannot normally be seen by members of the public will be opening their doors for free. Some attractions which normally charge for entry will also be available free of charge.

Hoar Construction of Birmingham wins work on 2 major projects in Southeast [The Birmingham News]
The Birmingham construction firm will build a $36 million, Department of Veterans Affairs’ VA Hospital in Biloxi. Hoar and the Christman Co. of Michigan will handle the $32 million renovation of the Robert Vance Federal Building and Courthouse downtown.

Waynesboro to host Urban Tree Workshop

The News Leader reports

On Thursday, hundreds of arborists and other agricultural workers will flock to Waynesboro’s Ridgeview Park for a workshop about growing and maintaining healthy trees in a crowded urban environment.

The Virginia Department of Forestry and the Virginia Urban Forest Council sponsor various workshops around the state, but this is the 14th year Waynesboro will host the Plant Health Care for Urban Trees program.

SOURCE: The News Leader

Download the Registration PDF from Virginia Urban Forest Council

Buchanan Courtyard under renovations

The University of British Columbia(UBC) is developing the final plans for Buchanan Courtyard which is to be implemented through the Public Realm Plan ($26 million initiative to rejuvenate open spaces over 15 years). $1.5 million is earmarked for the project with a further $1 million hoped to be raised for the project.

The project is expected to take 2 years with the west courtyard finished in June 2010 and east courtyard in 2011. The project was inspired by landscape architecture and architecture students at UBC and plans were developed during a consultation process with staff, students in a series of workshops with Co-Design group and landscape architects space2place.

The final stages of the project have been contracted to Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg (PFS).

Information SOURCE: The Ubyssey

Let native plants take their natural place instead of suburban lawn

Valerie Blaine at the Daily Herald has written a great article about letting lawns become natural pockets of grasslands across the suburbs. This can be an issue in gated communities and upmarket suburbs where the lawn and sometimes planting are regulated by species, heights and period of maintenance. The article is a great column about how we become slaves to the perfect American green lawn. read more of Blaine’s article at the Daily Herald

From my personal view, I think that green lawns ares not only an issue in America as talked about by Blaine but across the world were green lawns are seen as a must have for the perfect garden and park. The high costs of maintaining a green lawn are not only in monetary terms but also environmentally and ecologically. Planting a lawn that is a mono-culture or a few species creates an ecological wasteland. Grasslands are some of the most biodiverse landscapes that are often wiped out by residential developments to be replaced by green lawn, rows of hedging and roses. Even moreso in parks where residents demand pristine park lawns and playing ovals.

To change attitudes will take a long time unless environmental factors accelerate social change such as extended droughts which have occurred across the world including USA, Spain, Australia, India, parts of Africa. Brown lawns are now the norm in these countries as water is a scarce commodity for drinking not watering gardens. ‘Natural’ lawns or vegetable gardens can easily take the place of green lawns to provide a sustainable landscape.

Damian Holmes – 8 September 2009


In the News – 7 September

Newark kids drop in at new skatepark [Nj.com]
Ollies, grinds, and feebles were among moves on display at the opening of Newark’s only skateboard park — the first part of a three-phase program to revamp Jesse Allen park and provide some uncommon diversions for Newark kids.

Making nature centre stage: world renowned landscape architect to give free lecture [University Melbourne]

Highlighting the uniqueness of the environment will be Vladimir Djurovic’s priority when he gives the latest Melbourne School of Design Dean’s Lecture on September 8.
In “Landscapes of Living”, the Principal of Vladimir Djurovic Landscape Architecture (Lebanon) discusses his commitment to drawing out the uniqueness of an environment with simplicity of gesture that gives nature the stage, “guided by a philosophy of the esoteric but pragmatic, luxurious but minimal.”

“Landscapes of Living”
Tuesday 8 September, 7pm
Carrillo Gantner Theatre
Ground Floor, Sidney Myer Asia Building
University of Melbourne, Australia

America’s urban parks renewal

Neal Peirce of the Seattle Times has written an op-ed piece about the reawakening of America’s urban parks stating that

if there were ever a bonanza decade for America’s parks, this is surely it. Add stunning new parks in Boston, Atlanta, Cincinnati, Denver and Santa Fe, plus the success of conservancies in revamping great old parks in such cities as Pittsburgh, Brooklyn and San Francisco.

Peirce reviews various new urban parks in America including the Citygarden in St.Louis, Highline in New York and he also cites Harnik(parks expert for the Trust for Public Land) as saying

the 2004 opening of the Millennium Park in Chicago had the biggest impact on the American parkland scene since New York’s great Central Park opened in 1873.

A great piece that gives some insight into America’s urban park renewal – read the opinion piece at the
SOURCE: Seattle Times – The human-scale reawakening of America’s urban parks


Highline in New York


Citygarden in St.Louis – Flickr Image: Stannate

Get a Sneak Peak at a new Toronto Park

If your a Torontonian or passing through  Toronto next Wednesday September 9 you might want to stop by the Concord Cityplace at noon to get a Sneak Preview of the new $8 million 8-acre park that has been designed by Canadian artist/author Douglas Coupland and landscape architects Phillips Farevaag Smallenberg and inspired by Canadian hero Terry Fox, the park will contain not only public art, a water feature, a bluff, tree-shaded pathways and quiet areas but also the Terry Fox Miracle Mile, a jogging/running track dedicated to the courageous one-legged teenager who ran across Canada to raise money for cancer research in the early 80s.

The park runs north from Fort York Boulevard and extends from just west of Spadina Avenue almost to Bathurst Street. Among those helping celebrate the event will be Mayor David Miller, Councillor Adam Vaughan, Darrell Fox, brother of Terry Fox and Douglas Coupland, Vancouver author and artist whose vision inspired the overall look and feel of the park.

WHERE: Concord CityPlace, on the north side of Fort York Boulevard, halfway

between Spadina Avenue and Bathurst Streets, Toronto

WHEN: Wednesday, September 9, 2009, from noon to 2 p.m.

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