The 700-hectare Panama watershed experiment, also known as Agua Salud, will run for 20 to 30 years, making it the largest ongoing study of land use in the tropics. “Our project aims to clearly quantify environmental services such as water flow, carbon storage and biodiversity conservation that decision makers will consider as they evaluate projects from forest restoration to watershed management,” said Jefferson Hall, Smithsonian staff scientist and project director.
Quantifying the economic value of green infrastructure’s benefits is the key to helping municipalities adopt this innovative and cost-effective stormwater management approach, according to a new report by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and American Rivers. “The Value of Green Infrastructure: A Guide to Recognizing Its Economic, Social and Environmental Benefits” is a broad analysis that is the first to place an economic value on the numerous benefits provided by green infrastructure. Download the PDF guide HERE.
The Design Trust for Public Space has recently published the “High Performance Landscape Guidelines: 21st Century Parks for NYC“, a comprehensive, municipal design primer for sustainable parks and open space. Produced in partnership with the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation, the Guidelines cover every aspect of creating sustainable parks, from design to construction to maintenance, and feature hundreds of best practices for managing soil, water, and vegetation resources, as well as dozens of full-color photos and illustrations. To download the PDF click HERE.
Yet another great project selected by the AIA 2011 Honor Award committee was the 230-page “Low Impact Development: a design manual for urban areas” by the University of Arkansas Ecological Engineering Group. According to the AIA: “The manual’s unique contribution to the topic lies in its advancement of LID from a set of Best Management Practices to a highly distributed treatment network deployed at neighborhood, municipal, and regional scales. It shifts LID from an isolated technology to a planning model based on nestled pattern languages in making places. The goals are to promote implementation of LID technologies in urban areas through adoption of best practices in planning and design, and encourage reform in municipal codes.” For more information visit the AIA 2011 awards page.
The interdisciplinary Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™), a collaboration between ASLA, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and other entities, provides a resource page that highlights the importance of hydrology for sustainable site design, construction and management practices: “Rather than getting rid of stormwater as quickly as possible, a sustainable approach to stormwater management involves finding ways to harvest it on site, using it for irrigation, ornamental water features, and groundwater recharge. As the value of water is recognized, the value of natural systems to store, clean, and distribute available fresh water must also be recognized. Technology exists to integrate systems that mimic nature’s capacity to store, filter, and clean water.” For more information visit the Sustainable Sites Initiative– hydrology page HERE.
The National Green Values™ Calculator (GVC) is an online tool that helps professionals compare the performance, costs, and benefits of Green Infrastructure (GI) to conventional stormwater practices. (click here for Green Values Website) The calculator is very easy to use, and step-by-step it helps you determine the average precipitation that falls on a particular locations and then helps you choose a stormwater runoff volume reduction goals. It basically helps designers and engineers choose the right Green Infrastructure Best Management Practices that best meet the necessary runoff volume reduction goals in the most cost-effective way. According to Green Values: “results are not, in this version, meant to substitute for detailed, formal design and engineering assessments”, but we think that they help make the best design decisions early in the process…