Writings by Tim Beatley’s Students

What makes playgrounds fun?

The adventure? The discovery? The imaginary characters? Playgrounds are made with kids in mind and for Earth Day 2013 we are focusing this month’s newsletter on the interactions of kids in their own nature. What better nature is there as a kid than the playground at school or around the corner in a neighborhood park? [...]

Rain Gardens – adding value to city greening

While many city greening programs focus on reintroducing plants and nature through imaginative and even interactive designs, some cities are taking this opportunity to address other needs. Stormwater filtration and cleaning are becoming a concern for cities as pollution and water contamination become more frequent and detrimental to public health. Rain gardens offer low-cost, low-maintenance, “at-the-source” [...]

Making the Most Out of an Urban Tree Campaign: Planting for Success

In the urban planning and design world, the benefits of a strong urban canopy are well known and documented. Urban trees aid in stormwater management, reduce heat island effect, and make cities more livable.  With these ideas in mind, many cities across the country—from Sacramento to New York—have implemented tree planting campaigns. While these campaigns [...]

Cities Celebrating Birds

A bird’s life isn’t easy. With suburban sprawl and development, bird populations are in trouble. According to the National Audubon Society, “the average population of the common birds in steepest decline has fallen by 68 percent” since 1967. Cities are attempting to address the problem by establishing design guidelines for buildings to prevent bird deaths, [...]

Guerilla Gardening for a Biophilic City

There are many tactics for creating a biophilic city. Some citizens follow all of the rules by submitting the proper requests for permits or variances. Other biophilic enthusiasts utilize less conventional methods.  Guerilla gardeners employ nontraditional ways to create green spaces around cities -  using seed bombs and other techniques to create nature where there was [...]

Toronto’s Green Roof ByLaws

According to livingroofs.org, “Green roofs will benefit wildlife more than traditional roofing methods.” The city of Toronto has taken this research and put it into practice. Toronto is now a leader in green roof policies. In 2009, Toronto became the first city in the world to enact a green roof bylaw. The City of Toronto [...]

Seattle’s Green Factor

By Carla Jones Green infrastructure in cities is not a novel concept, but implementing policies to require green infrastructure in the United States is. In 2007, Seattle, Washington, was the first city in the United States to implement Green Factor, green infrastructure standards modeled after policies developed in Berlin, Germany, and Malmo, Sweden. According to the [...]

Growing Water: Designing for Water Shortage Solutions in Chicago

In April of 2007 the UN made the shocking statement that “two out of every three people in the world will be facing water shortages by 2025.” Five years later, we might ask ourselves: what is being done to prevent this problem in major metropolitan areas? Chicago firm Urban Lab has developed a progressive solution [...]

Portland Green Streets

Managing stormwater is a challenging task for most urban landscapes across the world. Among the many sustainable strategies being used to manage stormwater, the tactic of “green streets” is one of the most compelling. The City of Portland, Oregon has one of the most successful green streets programs in the United States that not only [...]

Seattle Food Forest

One of the most ambitious urban orchard projects underway in the US is the new Beacon Food Forest, in Seattle. Here, in the Beacon Hill neighborhood, a 7 acre parcel of land, owned by the Seattle Public Utility (SPU) will eventually be transformed into a multi-layered, public orchard and edible park. With seed money from [...]