Cities cultivate 2 types of green

Squatting on the roof of a row house with a panoramic view of the sewage plants and warehouses that surround the South Bronx, James Wells sounds like a tree-hugger.

He photographs the progress of seedlings he planted on the roof, one of his first “green roof” installations, and explains how roofs covered by soil and plants, more trees on the ground and cleaner parks are key to fighting the pollution that overwhelms the neighborhood. As he speaks, a pungent rotting smell emanates from a sewage plant.

“Imagine living under these types of conditions,” says Wells, 29. “It’s one of the reasons asthma rates are so high in the Bronx.”

Two years ago, Wells made an improbable conversion from convict to environmentalist. He was just out of prison after serving 10 years for armed robbery and couldn’t find a job that would pay enough to make the rent.

Then he found Sustainable South Bronx, and he found a calling.

Cities cultivate 2 types of green – Marisol Bello

5 greening master plans to launch in Sept in Hong Kong

Greening master plans for Sheung Wan, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Mong Kok and Yau Ma Tei will be implemented in September, the Development Bureau says. It has proposed creating a directorate post to boost professional landscape architectural expertise within Government.

In a paper tabled to lawmakers, the bureau said at present, the New Territories’ green coverage ratio is 74% and that for urban areas, 46%. Another study for developing greening master plans for the remaining urban areas is in progress for completion in early 2009. In view of the public aspiration for more greening in the New Territories, the development of the region’s greening master plan will start in mid-2009.

5 greening master plans to launch in Sept – Hong Kong Government

Madrona Woods creek again flows free

For decades, the cool, clear water from springs in the city-owned Madrona Woods flowed through stormwater pipes into Lake Washington.

But no more. Madrona residents are taking back their creeks.

Seattle landscape architect Peggy Gaynor, who has worked on rerouting creeks from pipes at Thornton Creek, Meadowbrook and Ravenna, said the Madrona project “is the most ambitious and complex project I’ve been involved with.”

Madrona Woods creek again flows free.Seattle PI – Debera Carlton Harrell

Force of nature weighs in on Presidio plan

If you don’t like Gap founder Donald Fisher’s proposal to erect a modern-looking modern art museum in San Francisco’s Presidio, Lawrence Halprin is on your side.

Colorful and commanding, the 91-year-old landscape architect is no stranger to the Presidio: He designed the romantic terrain that enfolds the Letterman Digital Arts Center at Lombard Gate. And when he saw the conceptual design for Fisher’s Contemporary Arts Museum of the Presidio – a glassy stack of white cubes by New York’s Gluckman Mayner Architects – he didn’t mince words.

“The proposed design … is absurdly inappropriate,” Halprin wrote to the Presidio Trust

PLACE / Force of nature weighs in on Presidio plan.

SPG Solar Installs 69 Kilowatt Solar PV System

MCA Architecture Planning Interiors, Payroll Masters and vanderToolen Associates, in partnership with SPG Solar, Inc., announced today the completion of a 69 kW roof-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) powered energy system at their headquarters in Napa.

“As a landscape architectural firm that’s involved in projects which promote energy conservation and efficiency it only made sense for vTA to convert our office to take advantage of solar technology which further strengthens our commitment to minimizing vTA’s carbon footprint on the environment”, Phil vanderToolen, ASA – Principal.

SPG Solar Installs 69 Kilowatt Solar PV System for MCA Architecture Planning Interiors, Payroll Masters, and vanderToolen Associates in Napa.

China Must Go Green, and Soon

When it comes to environmental issues like global warming, America and China behave like a couple in a bad marriage, playing the blame game. But to tackle the problem of global warming, neither country can go it alone.

The University of California at Berkeley held a recent “marriage counseling” conference titled: “China’s Environment: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It?” It brought scientists, environmentalists, journalists and venture capitalists from both sides together, to come up with solutions.

China’s air, water, energy, urban and rural spaces were discussed, as well as how its population is affected by environment-related diseases. Although it’s a cliché that “the color of water in Chinese rivers is somewhere between dark grey and black,” the fact that China adds two coal-based power plants per week is astonishing. Kirk Smith, professor of global environmental health at UC Berkeley, concludes that “the cleanest cities in China are about the same as the dirtiest American city.”

China Must Go Green, and Soon – New America Media – Jun Wang 

Renewable Energy Powers Italian Town and Its Economy

Europeans believe that renewable energy will bring economic benefits. But in Varese, Italy that prosperity has already arrived.
by , Contributing Writer

Varese, Italy has added 140 jobs in the past ten years. That’s pretty good for a town with a population of only 2,400. The town, which is located in Liguria in the northern part of Italy, is experiencing an economic boom fueled by renewable energy.

The town has seen a six-fold increase in tourists in the last ten years, many coming just to see its renewable energy network.

Varese became the first municipality in Europe to get 100 percent of its power from renewable energy sources six years ago. It now generates three times more electricity than the people living in Varese need and there are plans in the pipeline for even more renewables.

Renewable Energy Powers Italian Town and Its Economy – renewable – Jane Burgermeister