Wednesday, February 6, 2008

A Breath of Fresh Air

Green space is the life and breath of a community.

Intuitively, we know it.

Who can compare the beauty of a majestic canopy of local hardwoods with a clear-cut, treeless sea of asphalt?

Numerous scientific studies document the the thing we already know: Green Space lifts the quality of life and well-being of everyone in the community. The beauty of Nature may be difficult for an accountant to quantify, but on a human level, it has great value. We all know that on some level. Green space is, in the New American Village, a community asset.

With a bit of planning and cooperation, green space can be preserved, cultivated, and integrated into the fabric of the built environment for all to enjoy. Here are a few examples.

Urban squares. At the village center, green space provides a natural gathering place for individual or community activities, and green space in the densest part of town mitigates the hard edges of the built environment.

Neighborhood parks offer outdoor recreational opportunities to surrounding residents. A walk in the park, with the dog perhaps? A playground for neighborhood kids. A park bench in the shade for rest and reflection.

Put a little "park" in the parking lot. Trees balance out the starkness of large stretches of paving. And parking under a nice shade tree in the summer is always nice.

Greenways. Green space along waterways and drainage areas are perfect opportunities for a network of walking and biking paths throughout the community. Right of ways - roads, power, etc. - can be lush and green. No need to sacrifice beauty for necessity.

Here's a link to a "Rails to Trials" greenway. Take a look and see just how far a greenway can go in fostering a sense of community.

http://www.longleaftrace.org/

Are there more inspiring examples out there?

3 comments:

bethe12c said...

James,

A wonderful start for your blog.

Here's a resource that I think your reader's may enjoy. It covers some similar material to what you've been discussing this past week, The Slow Home http://theslowhome.com/blog/index/

And again congratulations on your newest adventure :)

Robert

Greener Building . blogspot said...

Green space needs a line on the pro forma.

James Polk said...

Several lines.

Outside green space. The goal here is "balance" of built and natural environment.

Green Roofs. Storm water and eco-system responsible building.

Linking to the surrounding common green space. Sidewalks, contiguous planting schemes, etc.

Indoor plant life.