USA urban forests losing ground

Albuquerque Aerial 2006 (Flickr User kla4067)

National results indicate that tree cover in urban areas of the United States is declining at a rate of about 4 million trees per year, according to a U.S. Forest Service study published recently in Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

Tree cover in 17 of the 20 cities analyzed in the study declined while 16 cities saw increases in impervious cover, which includes pavement and rooftops. Land that lost trees was for the most part converted to either grass or ground cover, impervious cover or bare soil.

Of the 20 cities analyzed, the greatest percentage of annual loss in tree cover occurred in New Orleans, Houston and Albuquerque. Researchers expected to find a dramatic loss of trees in New Orleans and said that it is most likely due to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Tree cover ranged from a high of 53.9 percent in Atlanta to a low of 9.6 percent in Denver while total impervious cover varied from 61.1 percent in New York City to 17.7 percent in Nashville. Cities with the greatest annual increase in impervious cover were Los Angeles, Houston and Albuquerque.

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Colorado Esplanade | Santa Monica | Peter Walker Partners Landscape Architecture

The proposed Colorado Avenue Esplanade Project will integrate the Expo Light Rail into the Downtown, streamlining the existing intersection functions and guiding passengers to their business, shopping, cultural and entertainment destinations. The project accomplishes this with a combination of major urban design improvements at the Downtown Expo Station Plaza and along Colorado Avenue between 4th Street and Ocean Avenue. The improvements organize and simplify the flow of pedestrians, vehicles and bicycles, and provide more detailed directional cues such as new signage and green street improvements that clarify pathways, improve wayfinding, enhance landscaping, and provide public art.

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Brown Boveri Square | Baden Switzerland | Schmid Landschaftsarchitekten

Brown Boveri Square | Baden  Switzerland | Schmid Landschaftsarchitekten
The formerly enclosed working area of  Brown Boveri & Cie, where in the past turbines and electrical motors were manufactured, to be converted to a lively urban square. However, even in this new configuration, the heritage of the Place can still be perceived. The Brown Boveri-Square is being transformed from an industrial to a cultural square; culture meaning also “cultivating”, since a classical tree formation outlines the square, leaving the center free. A further refinement of the new public space is achieved through the use of decorative casting moulds, which are conceived as a development of the well-­known industrial steel applications.

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Soils management will be key to food, water and climate security | UNEP

Image Credit: Flickr User Soil Science

UNEP has just released the United Nations Environment Programme’s (UNEP) Year Book 2012  and it highlights assessments indicating that some kinds of conventional and intensive agriculture are triggering soil erosion rates some 100 times greater than the rates at which nature can form soil in the first place.

There could also be profound implications for climate change. Soils contain huge quantities of carbon in the form of organic matter that in turn binds the nutrients needed for plant growth and allows rainfall to penetrate into underground aquifers. By 2030, without changes in the way land is managed, over 20 per cent of terrestrial habitats such as forests, peatlands and grasslands in developing countries alone could be converted to cropland aggravating losses of vital ecosystem services and biodiversity.

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BIG ♥ NYC to celebrate Valentine’s Day

BIG ♥ NYC to celebrate Valentine's Day

Credit: Ho-Kyung-Lee

BIG + Times Square Alliance + Flatcut + Local Projects and Zumtobel celebrate the Valentine’s Day  with an interactive heart installation at Times Square, New York utilizing the flow of people, air and touch to bring the heart to life.
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