A podcast about the intersection of nature and urban design.
Seeing the forest and the trees
Jennifer Greenfeld is the Assistant Commissioner of Forestry, Horticulture, and Natural Resources for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. Her job is to manage, think about, plan for nature in New York City. At the end of 2016, New York City released the results of their most recent street tree census, where they counted all the street trees along the city sidewalk. This was the culmination of about 18 months of work. Parks employees and over 2,000 citizen volunteers literally took to the streets to complete the census using surveyor’s wheels to precisely locate over half a million street trees. Parks turned all the data they collected into a public facing, interactive, living map. The map shows all the trees in the census displaying their species, size, and ecological benefits at the click of a mouse. In a city of over 8 million people, this was a huge effort. And it’s changing the way citizens interact with the urban forest. You can view the map here: https://tree-map.nycgovparks.org/ This podcast is a production of DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, LLC (www.deeproot.com). **CORRECTION: The company referred to as "Azteca" is actually called "Azavea."** Music: Broke for Free, “Golden Hour” Blue Dot Sessions, “Rafter,” “Discovery Harbor”
Kaid Benfield thinks lovability is an under-recognized element of sustainability, because it’s the places that we love that we’ll fight for, invest in, and defend. He should know, because he’s been working in the field for over 30 years. He started his career as a litigator, and eventually he went on to direct the Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth program, and to co-found the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, as well as Smart Growth America. During this time, he wrote over a thousand posts about land planning, sustainable development, and creating places that work for people. His most recent book is “People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think about Greener, Healthier Cities.” This podcast is a production of DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, LLC (www.deeproot.com). For more information about Kaid, visit www.placemakers.com. Music: Broke for Free, “If”, Podington Bear, “Lost And Found,” Love Is Not”
We don’t pay too much attention to soil, particularly in the city – which is too bad, because everything we do aboveground affects what goes on below. Listen to our conversation with pedologist Jonathan Russell-Anelli, a faculty member at Cornell University studying the form and function of soil. Remarkable Objects is a production of DeepRoot Green Infrastructure. Learn more at www.deeproot.com. Want even more? Follow us on Twitter @RemarkableShow. Music: “Juparo” (Broke for Free) “Falcon Hood (Tight)” (Podington Bear) “Summer Days” (Kai Engel)
Is Tree Planting Equitable?
Shannon Lea Watkins spends a lot of time thinking about environmental justice. She’s a post-doctoral fellow at San Francisco State University, where she studies the relationship between people and trees. Her recent research paper, published in “Environment and Behavior,” asks an uncomfortable but important question: is tree planting equitable? Do subsidized trees distributed by non-profits get planted evenly across the city, regardless of income or race? Environmental justice is about access to natural resources and unequal exposure to environmental harms, but it’s also about access to the decision-making process. Shannon is finding that there is more to the story than just “trees are good.” This podcast is a production of DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, LLC (www.deeproot.com). For more information about Shannon and her work: The Bloomington Urban Forestry Group: https://www.indiana.edu/~cipec/research/bufrg_about.php https://www.indiana.edu/~cipec/research/bufrgproj_nucfac.php https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Shannon_Watkins Music: “Broke for Free,” “Summer Spliffs” (Broke for Free) “Sneaker Chase” (Podington Bear)
Creativity and Constraints
The state of Minnesota has done something very unusual: they’ve formally recognized street trees, and the soil they grow in, as a best management practice for stormwater regulations. And they’ve created a crediting system to use street trees and soils to meet statewide regulatory standards. Our guest, Randy Neprash is a civil engineer and the sole staff member for the Minnesota Cities Stormwater Coalition, an organization of cities in Minnesota that are regulated for their stormwater discharges. Minnesota is the only state that we know of that has done this, and it could completely change not just how we manage water, but how well we sustain another key form of green infrastructure – the urban forest. This podcast is a production of DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, LLC (www.deeproot.com). For more information about the Minnesota Stormwater Manual calculator, visit http://stormwater.pca.state.mn.us/index.php/MIDS_calculator. Music: Broke for Free, “If, “Night Owl” Blue Dot Sessions, “Denzel Sprak”
Hacking the City
Cities are, almost by definition, slow-moving entities. But a playful design form known as the parklet has changed that, allowing everyday citizens to participate in making their neighborhoods more friendly, walkable, and generous. Robin Abad Ocubillo is the urban designer and lead policy planner for the San Francisco parklets program, and he has led the effort within the city of taking the unusual step of actually incorporating parklets into city code, thereby formalizing the important role they can play in the urban landscape. This podcast is a production of DeepRoot Green Infrastructure, LLC (www.deeproot.com). For more information about parklets in San Francisco, follow their work on Twitter @sfplanning, @pavement2parks, and online at parklets.org. Music: “Light Touch,” “Trickledown” (Podington Bear) “Only Knows” (Broke for Free)
This is a great podcast about trees in urban environments.
Why don't we have more of this kind of podcast?
Asks both big and detailed questions, makes talking about green design accessible, has a great interview style- what's not to like?
Fascinating, complicated topics made clear. It makes me think about my city differently.