Tree protection measure requires flexibility

Just read Chris Grygiel of Seattlepi.com 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 [bdonline.co.uk]

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

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 – Salisburypost.com

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 – Seacoastonline.com

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.”

SOURCE: RMJM

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