The justifications for the use of native plants in landscapes usually center on environmental reasons. The reasons run the gamut from water conservation to supporting local fauna. Rarely are aesthetic reasons given. Perhaps that circumstance is the result of the subjective nature of aesthetics. However, there are aesthetic reasons for choosing native plant landscapes that are fairly objective. The following are a few:Continue Reading Four aesthetic reasons to landscape with native plants
A nearby roadway may be putting your household’s health at risk. The same is true of workplaces, schools, and other places where people spend significant time. This health risk is from the elevated auto emissions near high traffic roadways. It’s a health risk separate and in addition to the regional air pollution from auto emissions.
We have come to draw a false sense of security from our collective sharing of regional air pollution and, perhaps, the belief that regulatory agencies protect us. However, research continues to show that air pollution, particularly from auto emissions, has profound effects on health. Moreover, such impacts are unequally distributed among local populations, largely based on nearness to major roadways.
Continue Reading What is a safe distance to live or work near high auto emission roads?
I serve on the board of Fair Shake Environmental Legal Services, an environmental and land use residency program based in Pittsburgh and Akron. I am delighted to share this recent article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, profiling Fair Shake and celebrating the accomplishments of our amazing Executive Director and Managing Attorney Emily Collins. Continue Reading Environmental Law Firm Incubator Gets Great Press
Recently the Denver Post ran an article on how citizen activists are campaigning to put controversial land use decisions on the ballot. While I realize ballot initiatives about zoning matters aren’t new, I found the article fascinating at a few levels.Continue Reading Ballot Box Zoning, Prairie Dog Refugees, and Colorado’s People Explosion.
There is an age old war in the global economy. It’s a war that always has the same winner but continues nevertheless. It’s a war between Old and New. Old wins some battles but New always wins the the war. Nevertheless the war is waged again and again. Ironically, when Old wins a battle, New is not the loser. The battlefield is the loser. That is, in countries in which Old industry fights off New innovative industries, those countries fall behind the countries in which New industries have been embraced and supported.Continue Reading Who will win the carbon reduction economy?
Last time (part 2), we visited a Chicago rooftop during the summer of 2007, where buckwheat sways in the breeze, collard greens with leaves as broad as a chair seat flourish, and tomatoes and peppers ripen, all in view of a passing elevated train. This time, we visit a state-of-the-art Chicago high school where the windows of a special needs classroom once looked out onto a barren, uninspiring landscape.
Last time (part 1), we were introduced to Urban Habitat Chicago, took off our shoes, and stretched our feet on an edible lawn. This time, we visit a Chicago rooftop during the summer of 2007, where buckwheat sways in the breeze, collard greens with leaves as broad as a chair seat flourish, and tomatoes and peppers ripen, all in view of a passing elevated train.
In the fall of 1862, crops were disappearing, mysteriously, from the fields around the tranquil Shaker community at Pleasant Hill, Kentucky.
A watch was ordered over several nights to see what was happening when the incident was brought to the attention of the governing Elders and Eldresses. The Battle of Perryville, Kentucky on October 8, 1862, brought the Civil War within seventeen miles of the close-knit, pacifist community’s doorstep. Soldiers from both Union and Confederate armies, it was revealed, were stealing the crops from the fields at night.Continue Reading Urban Habitat Chicago Redux: 10 years of productive urban landscapes (part 1 of 3)
There is no doubt that sustainability is the future of both architectural and landscape design. Most of the time, when landscapers and homeowners think of sustainable landscaping, they think of rain barrels, compost piles and vegetable gardens. True sustainable landscaping can be so much more than that.Continue Reading Design For The Future: Sustainable Landscapes
The City of La Mesa has cut down all the shade trees along its commercial mainstreet. This occurred as construction began on the La Mesa Downtown Streetscape “enhancement” project. Some of these trees were tattered, unhealthy, or buckling the sidewalks. However, the city removed nearly all the trees, problematic or not. Rather than replacing these trees with environmentally and pedestrian friendly shade trees (e.g. native varieties like Western Sycamores, Live Oak, or Black Oak), the replacements tree choice is being guided primarily by maintenance concerns, leaving a limited selection of relatively small non-native and non-shade trees. Additionally, the Streetscape Masterplan shows an abundance of the grossly overused fan palm, sparing only La Mesa Boulevard between Acacia and 4th, and a few other blocks. Continue Reading Who Hijacked La Mesa’s Trees?