In light of greater environmental pressures, more cities are turning to urban greening to foster community regeneration. Green features — such as greenways, waterways, parks, and rooftop and community gardens — not only yield health and aesthetic benefits, but also stimulate economic development. Though these project contain implementation challenges, examples from throughout North Carolina and around the country demonstrate how incorporating greening spaces into America’s urban landscapes can provide a myriad of benefits for communities.
Editors: Heather Schroeder and Brika Eklund
A digital version of this issue is available here.
|FROM BROWN LIABILITY TO GREEN OPPORTUNITY: REINVENTING URBAN LANDSCAPES
De Sousa, Christopher
Whether they are growing, shrinking, or just standing their ground, cities throughout the United States are looking for ways to reinvent and reinvigorate their urban landscapes. More and more, planners are employing urban greening strategies as tools to enhance the quality of life and create more sustainable metropolitan environments. This is especially true in places that have suffered the consequences of deindustrialization and economic decline over the past 50 years. This paper begins by briefly discussing the evolution of urban greening and the vast array of associated benefits. It then examines expanding efforts to use brownfield sites as opportunity spaces for greening, focusing on project types, planning activities, stakeholder involvement, and redevelopment outcomes. The paper ends with some key lessons from the field that can help planning professionals realize a greener future for our nation’s cities.
|STAYING GREEN: LOCAL TREE PROTECTION ORDINANCES IN NORTH CAROLINA
Meadows, Chad; Sizemore, Stephen
With greater urgency, communities are realizing the need for sustainable development practices that help to address climate change, limit dependence on foreign fuel sources, support healthy lifestyles, and better protect natural resources for future generations. Regulatory requirements that protect and retain existing trees during and after the development process are some of the most cost-effective methods for communities to be more sustainable. This article enumerates many of the benefits of tree protection, including lower energy costs through shading and reduced greenhouse gases through carbon sequestration. It surveys the wide variety of tree protection strategies (mandatory, voluntary, and incentive-based) used by more than 100 local and county governments across North Carolina, and it describes the hallmarks of an effective tree protection ordinance. Given the state’s growth trajectory and the public’s heightened recognition of the need for more sustainable development practices, tree protection standards are likely to become more prevalent and comprehensive in the future.
|IF YOU BUILD IT, WILL THEY COME? MEASURING GREENWAY USAGE IN CARY, N.C.
A decade ago, the Town of Cary, N.C. implemented a greenway program but had no information available on the facilities’ usage. To address this shortcoming, the Town’s volunteer Greenway Committee initiated a program in 2007 to measure weekend greenway use. Study results showed that overall median usage for any segment on weekends is 11.35 users per hour. User counts were much higher on metro segments than on neighborhood segments. In addition, locating facilities alongside certain amenities, such as a lake or trailhead parking, may increase usage. Overall, walking was the most prevalent mode of travel. Temperature was found to have a definite impact on usage, with the highest usage occurring when temperatures were in the 60°Fs. There is little variation by time period or day; the notable exception is Sunday evening, when the median usage level increases to 15.28 users per hour. These results should provide a good guide for comparable suburban cities in similar climates regarding the potential weekend usage of their greenways.
|URBAN GREENING IN NORTH CAROLINA: CASE STUDIES FROM NEW BERN, MECKLENBURG COUNTY, AND RALEIGH
Cragnolin, Karen; Thomas, Susan Moffat; Gordon, James; Wilhelm, Will; Brantley, James
Carolina Planning regularly solicits articles on recent projects from members of the North Carolina chapter of the American Planning Association (NCAPA). This year’s submissions focused on water resource management – an important element of urban greening efforts. From a riverwalk in New Bern – the host city for the 2010 NCAPA Conference – to a stream restoration project in Mecklenburg County and an educational wetlands park in Raleigh, these projects provide valuable insight into the local planning process.
|DESIGNING GREEN URBAN CAROLINA CHILDHOODS: THEORY AND PRACTICE
Moore, Robin C.
With distant roots in work conducted when the author was an urban planning student, scientific research and design assistance in children’s environments continues through the Natural Learning Initiative, N.C. State University, in specific contexts, many of them educational. They include schools, children’s museums, zoos, botanical gardens, childcare centers, and neighborhood parks, playgrounds and pathways. Results are aimed at creating cost-effective demonstration sites that people can see and believe possible. The overall aim is to assemble the research evidence to influence built environment policy in favor of healthy child development – and thus the long-term health of all city inhabitants. An evidence-based, participatory community design approach utilizes the socio-ecological model and the concepts of territoriality, behavior setting, and affordance to create design programs that drive physical design. When successful, the process constitutes a dialectic that balances community change and continuity in a way that both builds culture and adapts to it. A number of past and current projects are profiled to illustrate the community design processes involved.
|REVITALIZING PITTSBURGH’S WATERFRONT BROWNFIELDS: AN INTERVIEW WITH FORMER MAYOR TOM MURPHY
Schroeder, Heather; Eklund, Brika
On January 29, 2010, former Pittsburgh Mayor and current Urban Land Institute fellow Tom Murphy visited The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to deliver the 2010 Robert and Helen Siler Lecture, entitled “Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill: Building a World Class Region to Compete in a Changing Economy.” Earlier that day, he sat down with the Carolina Planning editors to share leadership lessons and strategies for using urban greening to revitalize industrial cities. A condensed and edited transcript follows.
|EVALUATION OF ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS OF SONGPA NEW TOWN IN SEOUL, KOREA
The purpose of this research is to examine the environmental effects of the proposed Songpa new town development built along the urban growth boundary in South Korea. The project evaluates the proposed development plan from an environmental perspective, which can be easily ignored during a planning process. With the logistic regression model considering accessibility and physical constraint factors, future development in the proposed new town and infill development in two existing alternative areas are simulated based on the assumption that future development will follow past development patterns. The project examines changes in runoff volume directly affecting water quality and flooding in and around the study areas. Pre-development and post-development runoff volumes are estimated through hydrologic analysis using land use, soil type, and average rainfall data.