Could Harvard expansion restore Allston’s watery ways?

In the late 19th century, the banks of the Charles River near the Harvard campus were covered with marshes, cut through with small streams that advanced and retreated with the tides.
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Then engineers took over. The tidal marshes were filled, land was reclaimed, and many of the streams were buried underground in pipes.

Now, as Harvard begins its expansion on the Allston side of the Charles, there is a push to return the area to a more natural state – part of an emerging national movement that touts the environmental benefits of landscape restoration.

For the last two years, Harvard, the city, the local community, and various groups including the watershed association have worked – sometimes contentiously – to determine the best course for the project. Bowditch said her group’s main goal is to figure out how the drainage systems in North Allston work and how to make them work better.

Could Harvard expansion restore Allston’s watery ways? – The Boston Globe.

Stopping the flow of Chicago’s urban pollution

It’s a quest similar to those undertaken by neighboring communities after a six-year building boom that changed the landscape of the once mostly-rural suburbs southwest of Chicago. Since 2000, Will County’s population surged 33 percent, making it the fastest-growing county in Illinois and among the most rapidly expanding in the U.S.

Now that the building has slowed, many communities are taking a step back to identify areas straining under the weight of urbanization.

“We know the slowdown isn’t going to last forever,” DeVivo said. “Now is the perfect time to focus our attention toward protecting our natural environment.”

The environmental survey of Long Run Creek, released late last year and funded by an $80,000 state grant, revealed a creek under assault. Researchers documented garbage dumps similar to what DeVivo had seen, but also areas of the creek where natural buffers have eroded, contributing to a loss of native plants and insects.

Stopping the flow of urban pollution — chicagotribune.com.

New York’s Vacant Spaces

The words New York and Vacant Space seem like an phases rarely made in conjunction with the Big Apple. However Jeremy Miller’s article gives us a better insight into why there is Vacant Space in Manhattan and its neighbouring Boroughs.

It also is an article that gives many of us food for thought as urban planners and designers and how we look and design our cities. New York is grand metropolis in North America although it has had its problems over the years in terms of urban development, some of this linked to critical financial and cultural events in New York. New York is flourishing again with a vast amount of development in downtown especially around the Wall Street area. However, its in the streets above 96th street that development seems to have stagnated.

Jeremy gives us solutions to the problems of Vacant Spaces in cities and in particular the Boroughs of New York. An article that is well worth a read.

Filling New York’s ‘Vacancies’- Jeremy Miller – Gotham Gazette

Hammerson and Urban Splash selected in Swansea – Property Week

The developers, who last collaborated on the residential element of the Bullring in Birmingham city centre, were chosen for the scheme by the City and County of Swansea and the Welsh Assembly Government following a nine-month European-wide competition.

Hammerson and Urban Splash will now work on a phased development of the site, which encompasses the existing Quadrant shopping centre, and is bordered by Princess Way and Westway.
BDP undertook the Masterplan.

Hammerson and Urban Splash selected in Swansea – Property Week.
Developers chosed for 1billion redevelopment of Swansea – BBC

Environmentalists push $1 million program to save urban trees

Environmentalists eager to save urban trees are promoting the Evergreen Cities campaign, naming it one of their top four priorities for the legislative session that starts next Monday. They’re pushing a $1 million program to improve urban forests statewide.

Protections for urban trees vary widely in the Puget Sound region, contributing to a dramatic decline in the tree cover. Satellite images from the ’70s are dominated by green swaths with black specks of buildings and roads. Recent pictures are practically reversed, with black oozing across the image and green patches shining through.

It’s an urban deforestation seen nationwide. About 25 percent of city tree canopy vanished over the past 30 years, based on satellite image analysis by American Forests, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group.

Environmentalists push $1 million program to save urban trees. Seattle – LISA STIFFLER SeattlePI

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