Category:

Integrated Community Planning

XIONGAN NEW AREA: “Is China’s ‘city of the future’ a replicable model? Success of Xiong’an’s ambitious green experiment seems guaranteed but its strength may make it hard to emulate,” writes Li Jing


“As part of its green initiatives, Xiong’an will become a testing ground for innovative green financing tools to fund projects to clean up local water systems, build energy-saving buildings and public transportation systems. Whilst the commitment to sustainable development is commendable, the real environmental benefits of Xiong’an’s green experiments are questionable considering the area suffers from chronic water scarcity and severe ecological degradation,” wrote Li Jing.

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Retrofitting Cities for Tomorrow’s World (2017): “What is needed is a new approach, based on futures thinking, which embeds the ideas of ecological and social resilience into the very fabric of the built environment of cities,” says Malcolm Eames, editor


“Today, a key challenge for policy and decision makers globally is how best to develop the knowledge and capacity to use resources more sustainably. Governments in the UK and across the world are therefore introducing increasingly challenging targets to reduce the impact we have on our environment,” stated Dr. Malcolm Eames. “However, in what is an increasingly urbanised world, ‘piecemeal’ change cannot equip cities, as major foci of global population, to rise to the challenges of climate change. “

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Be the Hands that Restore the Land: “Physical geography should be integral to larger ecology and not just a beautification tool,” says landscape architect Akshay Kaul


“There is a severe shortfall in human resource to manage the environmental challenges in planning and design. Consider the Himalayas. Over the years, the less steep land has been built upon. We are left with very steep land to build on. It poses huge challenges in terms of creating roads, managing storm water, sub-surface drainage system, erosion and slope stabilization. The present techniques of retaining walls through concrete or stone are expensive and a visual eyesore—they do not take the more important issue of hydrology into consideration,” states Akshay Kaul.

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Financing the New Water Infrastructure: “Green and distributed infrastructure options are having their moment, and municipal leaders are taking notice,” wrote Cynthia Koehler, executive director of the WaterNow Alliance


“The challenge for green and distributed water strategies is scale. The power of these systems to provide truly meaningful benefits, and big savings, to cities and towns is in the aggregate. So how do we move from important but scattered success stories to making these options easily available to municipalities facing a range of water issues? Adopting distributed systems at large-scale requires that cities and towns have the option to use municipal bond proceeds to pay for consumer rebates, direct installations and other distributed infrastructure initiatives,” Cynthia Koehler.

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Discovering Nature’s Infrastructure Potential on Vancouver Island: “The long-term vision is to transform a decommissioned sawmill site on the Courtenay River into a valuable eco-asset corridor,” stated Project Watershed’s Jennifer Sutherst


“All the salmon stocks that are returning to spawn in the Tsolum River watershed or the Puntledge River watershed have to migrate past the site,” stated Jennifer Sutherst. “We want to take this community eyesore and turn it into an ecological asset. It’s really important to see that we’re going to be able to turn the site back to a natural functioning condition. Then it’s going to support fish and wildlife and be  a community asset. We’re also going to have the opportunity to build in some flood attenuation capacity.”

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FLASHBACK TO 2008: “Development and watershed protection can be compatible. Early success on the ground has given us increasing confidence that the 50-year vision is within our grasp,” stated Kim Stephens in a presentation to the Urban Development Institute


“Urban land use has been degrading the natural environment for more than 100 years. Sit on that for a while. 100 years, perhaps more. Holy smokes. So what’s all this talk about developers and builders, the ultimate urban land users, protecting watersheds? It’s true. Developers who increase the amount of pervious surfaces on their sites keep rain on-site, delay runoff, and reduce flooding. City planners and engineers love this,” stated Marie Savage.

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Research Shows U.S. Cities Lose Tree Cover Just When They Need It Most: “And it takes a lot more than a few cities with million tree programs to replace the trees that get chewed up by office buildings and big box stores and parking lots,” stated William Sullivan, professor of landscape architecture


Urban tree planting programs—even the heavily promoted ‘million tree’ campaigns taking place in many U.S. cities—have not kept up with losses. Adding tree cover will require a shift to long-term thinking—especially to plan ways to make room for nature while also accommodating new growth. “It’s not enough to have a phenomenal world-class park three miles from your home. A tree needs to grow outside every window and doorway,” stated William Sullivan.

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SPONGE CITIES: “Design is a meeting point between technology and art where Western systematic thinking is grafted together with traditional Chinese wisdom,” stated Kongjian Yu, the landscape architect who has transformed some of China’s most industrialized cities into standard bearers of green architecture


“In order to increase the resilience of a natural system, it is important to find solutions beyond the level of the city and even nation. I’m talking about a whole global system, in which we think globally but must act locally,” says Kongjian Yu. He is famous for being the man who reintroduced ancient Chinese water systems to modern design. In the process he has transformed some of China’s most industrialized cities into standard bearers of green architecture.

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A CALL TO ACTION: “Without integrated and proactive green resilience strategies, cities risk wasting time and money on adaptation projects,” warns Steve Winkelman in a report released by the Adaptation to Climate Change Team (ACT) at Simon Fraser University (Nov 2017)


“Strategically packaging projects for multiple funders and investors can attract more money and accelerate implementation based on policy and investor priorities, such as – critical infrastructure resilience, business continuity, reduced operating and capital costs, disaster prevention, affordable housing, health, and habitat protection,” stated Steve Winkelman.

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GREEN CITY, CLEAN WATERS: Philadelphia is in Year #7 of a 25-year program to create a citywide mosaic of green infrastructure and restore the water balance


Benjamin Franklin, Philadelphia’s favorite son, described his city’s stormwater problem well: By “covering a ground plot with buildings and pavements, which carry off most of the rain and prevent its soaking into the Earth and renewing and purifying the Springs … the water of wells must gradually grow worse, and in time be unfit for use as I find has happened in all old cities.”

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