Landscaping With a Lighter Touch – NYTimes.com

A recent article by William L. Hamilton at the New York Times about landscaping enhancing property values interviewed some landscape architects and clients and many drew the conclusion that people are heading towards more low maintenance gardens with few features. Out with the outdoor kitchen and in with the kitchen garden. More native plants and natural aesthetic.

The landscape architects in the article were:

Mike Mushak (CT, NY) said his clients were more interested in growing vegetables and getting their hands dirty than owning and operating the elaborate outdoor appliances…..

Anne Howerton(SF) said “how much work you want to put into maintaining a property, at any price point.”…….

Andrea Cochrane(SF) said about clients with green intentions – “They’re definitely aware, but when people look at the amortization — the payback — they tend to cut it out. I’ve become a little jaded about that.”…..

Perry Guillot(NY) stated that “High, high maintenance, that’s moved on,”……..“It’s like having five bad kids in the house, constantly needing things.”

Read the full article at the the [SOURCE: New York Times – Landscaping With a Lighter Touch]

Some Engineering firms see 6% rise in 2010

In the recent post from ENR.com it found that CEO’s of Engineering & design-build firms predicted a rise of 6% in revenues in 2010 based on a recent survey by Environmental Financial Consulting Group. One CEO commented that the competitive bidding had gotten ugly and was screwing up the market.

For the full article go to the SOURCE: ENR.com

Mayor & Transport for London plan to improve cyclists safety

The Mayor of London and Transport for London have released a plan to improve cyclists safety on the roads of London.

London’s boroughs and cycling groups are being asked to comment on the content of the plan, which highlights the needs for action by:

· Promoting the cycling safety message to all road users.

· Delivering new, safe cycle routes and facilities – such as the new Cycle Superhighways routes and the central London Cycle Hire scheme with its 6,000 bikes.

· Confidence boosting training for cyclists, and other road users –£3 million has been invested in cycle training this year.

· Encouraging HGV(heavy goods vehicles) operators in London to take cycling safety seriously  – including engaging with 7,000 London companies and encouraging them to join TfL’s Freight Operators Recognition Scheme.

· Working with over 300 freight companies which operate construction vehicles – they will be encouraged to install side-bars or other safety devices on HGVs that are currently exempt.

· Calling for Government action to improve HGV safety – by removing the current exemption for some construction vehicles to have side-bars and requiring cycle safety awareness as a mandatory part of HGV drivers ‘Certificate of Professional Competence’ (CPC) periodic training requirement.

· Championing the need to allow trials of innovative safety measures – such as Trixi mirrors in London to examine their potential benefits for cycling safety.

· Creating a Cycle Safety Working Group of key road user and cycling organisations

Continue reading Mayor & Transport for London plan to improve cyclists safety

Common Council Explores Redesign of The Commons

Recently Sasaki Associates and Clough Harbour & Associates(engineers) presented several design options for a redesign of the Itaca Commons to Ithaca Commons Council and about 30 residents. A finalised preliminary design will be available in December, 2009.

“The Commons is a vital area for the Ithaca community, but some areas are in need of major repair,” said Susannah Ross, a senior associate at Sasaki Associates.

The first option was a minimal plan addressing some current issues and maintaining the existing design; the second option was a radical redesign inspired by “solar radiation” and the third was an “eclectic streetscape” plan.

For more information go to the [SOURCE: The Cornell Daily SunCommon Council Explores Redesign of The Commons]

SOM Wins Beijing CBD Competition

SOM - Beijing CBD - IMAGE SOURCE: SOM

The Chicago and China offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) were named the winner of an international design competition to expand the Beijing Central Business District (CBD). The competition was sponsored by the Chaoyang District Government and the Beijing CBD Administration Committee. Seven teams of the world’s leading urban planners, urban designers and architects were invited to participate. Philip Enquist, FAIA, Partner-in-Charge of Urban Design and Planning for SOM, led this effort.

The SOM plan calls for the establishment of three new districts anchored by signature parks and green boulevards. New modes of public transportation are proposed, including express commuter rail service between the Beijing Capital International Airport, the CBD, and high speed rail service at Beijing South Station. A new streetcar system is proposed to conveniently link all areas of the CBD. A network of small, walkable blocks is proposed to establish a pedestrian-friendly scale for development and every street would be bicycle friendly.

The SOM plan defines new strategies for building municipal infrastructure and high performance buildings. Implementation of the plan could reduce energy consumption within the district by 50%, reduce water consumption by 48%, reduce landfill waste by 80%, and result in a 50% reduction in carbon emissions. Reduction in emissions from office buildings alone would equate to a reduction of 215,000 tons of CO2 per year, which is the equivalent of planting 14 million adult trees.

SOM’s vision for the Beijing CBD provides the framework that will enable China’s capital city to grow as a global center for commerce, yet be a green and ecological setting for healthy life.

SOURCE:  www.SOM.com | 10/23/09 – SOM Wins Beijing CBD Competition.

Also watch the video at SOM

RELATED WLA POST: Beijing CBD Expansion plan to be chosen this year

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