Orange County Great Park

In another small step toward the construction of the Orange County Great Park, Irvine will spend $14 million during the next year and a half to spruce up the area around the tethered orange balloon ride that opened this summer by surrounding it with five acres of grass, shade trees, benches and tables, the Great Park board decided Thursday.

Although completion of the 1,347-acre park is decades away, Ken Smith, the landscape architect designing it, said the open space around the balloon would give a preview of what is to come.

“The balloon was born out of the idea of giving the public access to the site while we’re still building the park,” he said. “Now that we have the balloon up, we’re realizing we actually have to provide amenities,” he said. Tony Barboza, Los Angeles Times

Orange County Great Park is having an ‘Open House’ on December 1st and 2nd between 10am and 2pm

AIA – Green Building Report

‘Cities with Green Building Programs Have Increased More Than 400% since 2003′

American Institute of Architects report spotlights geographic breakdown, case study examples and recommendations for local program development

Washington, D.C., November 28, 2007 — Since 2003 the number of cities with green building programs has risen from 22 to 92 for an increase of 418%. In an effort to examine the eco-friendly initiatives of U.S. cities, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) commissioned a study of communities with populations of greater than 50,000 to spotlight the growth and effectiveness of green building policies. The report, Local Leaders in Sustainability, analyzed 661 communities’ best practices, strategies and trends, as well as provides recommendations for cities that are looking to implement green building programs.

Key findings:

• 1 in 7 cities surveyed currently have green building programs
• Number improves to 1 in 5 by next year with current projections
• 39% of citizens live in cities with green building programs
• 36 cities are in an advanced stage of developing a green building program

Click here for regional breakdown and case study examples in full report

Waste Management in Europe

This new brochure examines the contribution the LIFE programme has made to promoting innovative waste management in Europe. It sets out the major European waste legislation and provides information on a series of LIFE projects engaged in innovative solutions to waste management through recovery, recycling or reuse. Get the broschure here

Wall Street 9/11 Memorial Fountain

What could be simpler than a glass bowl?

Actually, when it is the nine-foot bowl of an outdoor fountain, just about anything could be simpler.

“It proved to be a lot more difficult in the execution than anybody imagined,” said Adrian Benepe, commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation.

As part of a downtown parks program financed by the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation, Deutsche Bank proposed in 2004 to donate a memorial fountain at the foot of Wall Street. It was to commemorate bank employees who were killed on Sept. 11, 2001, and, more abstractly, take the place of the handsome fountain at the base of the former Deutsche Bank building at 130 Liberty Street. That fountain, the setting of Ophelia’s drowning in the 2000 movie version of “Hamlet,” was destroyed on 9/11.

The new fountain was to be set — like the period of an exclamation point — at the east end of Manahatta Park, a narrow landscaped plaza along Wall Street designed by George Vellonakis, a landscape architect in the parks agency. He specified a fountain made of structural glass.

more at New York Times David W. Dunlap

Day of reckoning comes for Washington Square Park

GREENWICH VILLAGE. Robert Moses had to quit trying to remake Washington Square Park after decades of protest. Yet the Bloomberg administration is now closing in on Moses’ goal by keeping its redesign under wraps for nearly three years. The last of several lawsuits aimed at stopping the plan is expected to be decided today.

Assemblywoman Deborah Glick wrote Mayor Michael Bloomberg last month asking him to reconsider the plan in light of a process that “consistently attempted to circumvent any type of exchange with the community.” Last May, Community Board 2 rescinded its approval, saying it hadn’t seen an “accurate” design. This claim was backed up by a state appeals court, which acknowledged “essential aspects” were not disclosed but let the city proceed. patrick arden / metro new york

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