Guest column: Don’t expect simple solutions to complexities of flooding – DesMoinesRegister.com | The Des Moines Register

DOUGLAS M. JOHNSTON is chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning and of the Department of Landscape Architecture at ISU wrote a great article about the Iowa floods*

During and after any catastrophe, many will review the events and ask: Why did it happen and what can be done to prevent it? The ongoing flooding in Iowa is no exception.

…….we often fail to remember is that water flows downhill. It comes from somewhere, and it goes somewhere. Anything we do that affects the flow of water will have an impact further downstream. Prairie and forest are good at capturing rainfall. Tile-drained farm fields, roofs, roads, and parking lots are less so. With fewer wetlands, prairies and forest to slow runoff or prevent it, the same rain event will send more water downstream faster.

Read more @ the SOURCE: DesMoinesRegister.com – Guest column: Don’t expect simple solutions to complexities of flooding – The Des Moines Register.

Permeable hardscapes let the water soak in

San Franciso Chronicle has published a practical artile on permeable pavement – sort of a Sustainable Landscape Design 101

Does your driveway look like a patchwork quilt, with raised and sunken surfaces; chipped, off-color mortar stuffed into jagged cracks; and a generation’s worth of oil, paint and mold stains? Has the time come to replace it? Or, if your driveway is fine, is this the year to install the new patio you’ve been dreaming of, or some garden walkways?

Whether you’re replacing your existing driveway, patio and walks or installing new ones, you have an opportunity to turn them into water management and conservation features by building them so water can drain through them – in landscaping terms, making them “permeable hardscape.”

SOURCE: San Francisco Chronicle (SFgate.com) – Permeable hardscapes let the water soak in.

Target Center roof going green

Another major “green roof” project is set to move forward atop a high-profile building in downtown Minneapolis.

City officials are putting together construction documents for a green roof over Target Center, even as the city – with help from a project team led by RSP Architects – continues the job of planting 40 varieties of mostly native plants on a portion of Minneapolis City Hall.

The Target Center project was first reported by Finance and Commerce in March 2007.

By putting vegetation on top of the 18-year-old city-owned arena, the city hopes to protect the membrane and extend the roof’s life. Green roofs typically last 40 to 50 years, compared to 20 to 25 years for a conventional roof, Guild said.

Read more @ the Source: Finance and Commerce – Target Center roof going green

EU Commission discusses soil degradation and climate change – Jerusalem Post

The European Commission last week hosted a high-level conference on the relationship between soil and climate change, and the role of soil management in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Organic matter plays a fundamental role supporting soil fertility, retaining water, sustaining biodiversity and regulating the global carbon cycle. But organic matter is in decline, and the conference heard how large amounts of carbon have been lost to the atmosphere in recent years. The Commission states it is convinced of the need to act at EU level to protect soil

SOURCE: Jerusalem Post EU Commission discusses soil degradation and climate change .

Green Sky Thinking debate – URGENT – deadline for submissions – June 19

Green Sky Thinking debate – deadline for submissions

Do you have a vision of the sustainable city of the future? Or simply some innovative sustainable design solutions you would like to share with an inquisitive high-profile audience of 100 key decision-makers in regeneration, sustainability and urban design?

If so, join the Green Sky Thinking Debate on 16 July 2008. Part of the 2008 London Festival of Architecture, the Green Sky Thinking Debate will take place at Allen & Overy, 10th floor, One Bishops Square, London E1.

This is a great opportunity for young landscape architects, architects, urban planners, landscape designers, engineers and multi-disciplinary design teams to showcase their work whilst demonstrating their commitment to green design.

To submit a brief email a 100 word description of your idea together with 5 lo-res images (no larger than 5mb each)to
zwilkinson@openhouse.org.uk by 19 June 2008.

SOURCE: Landscape Institute – Green Sky Thinking debate – deadline for submissions.

Making San Francisco into a people-oriented city

Tim Holt of San Francisco Chronicle interviews urban planning guru, Jan Gehl about San Francisco and create urban spaces and a more pedestrain city(Ed– Maybe hard with those hills) and open air shopping.

Read more @ the SOURCE: SFGate.com – Making S.F. into a people-oriented city

Good design requires innovation – Seattlepi.com

GRAHAM BLACK AND BRAD KHOURI have written a comprehensive article about designing residential developments in Seattle.

Town homes don’t have to be ugly and dampen the human spirit. But so many of them are eyesores that town homes have become a lighting rod in the local debate over housing. They’ve been blamed for the decline of community and called a threat to single-family neighborhoods. Their rapid proliferation has even prompted recent City Council-led community forums.

Town homes aren’t the problem. A critical part of the housing stock, they allow the city to create more urban density, reduce our carbon footprint and provide an affordable housing option for local families.

Bad design and laziness are the real problem. Badly designed, shoddily built, cookie-cutter town homes that don’t fit or build the character of our city’s neighborhoods isolate residents from one another and discourage open space. Bad design is the result of a formula-driven approach, where generic plans are slapped onto every lot, regardless of site or neighborhood.

Seattle has an opportunity to shape neighborhoods for the future. The city needs to take charge of its permitting and design process, eliminate the loopholes that allow some builders to avoid design review and give an incentive for opting into that process. Design review, when done right, can ensure projects that make the city a more interesting place.

Read more @ the SOURCE: Seattlepi.com – Good design requires innovation.

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