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 – USATODAY.com. Marisol Bello

Surprise from the streets: Art!

Shards of glass arranged randomly on a wooden utility pole. A jaunty human body carved out of a dead tree, wearing a tire as a hat. Ceramic benches in a vacant lot. The face of an elf painted on the base of a streetlight. Elaborate graffiti in countless places across the city.

Art is one of the last things outsiders associate with Detroit. But drive the streets and you quickly realize the city possesses an energetic, grassroots creative class that not only spreads color, whimsy and provocation across the landscape, but also serves as an engine of redevelopment.

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True, not everyone considers all of it art, especially when it comes to graffiti.

DRIVING DETROIT | PART 3 OF 5: Surprise from the streets: Art!.

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

Congress Centre to get NCC scrutiny

couple of weeks ago, the Congress Centre team met with NCC design advisers, including an architect and landscape architect who raised concerns about the design of the project. But the centre has received generally positive reviews from community leaders and has won commitments of $50 million each from the federal and Ontario governments, and $40 million from the city.

NCC approval is essential because the commission has authority over development changes in the core of the capital. As well, the building plan includes reducing the NCC’s scenic Colonel By Drive from four lanes to two at this location, to accommodate a bigger development footprint.

Congress Centre to get NCC scrutiny – Ottawa Citizen – Patrick Dare

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.

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