Falling apart houses, patches of unused land, and generally neglected residential spaces can be found throughout American cities. These urban blights not only look ugly but cause societal problems as well since it’s a neglected space that nefarious activities can easily take place. Cities have found success in converting vacant lots into community garden spaces to address these concerns; however, in some cities there are too many vacant lots and not enough demand for more gardening space. Philadelphia found that just greening vacant lots by planting some sod and trees they’ve been able to improve neighbourhoods and help the city in other ways like local temperature cooling and water management.
The PHS LandCare program recognizes that while vacant lots in legacy cities greatly outnumber the organizations or individuals willing or able to turn them into gardens, vineyards, or parks, allowing those lots to remain derelict condemns their surroundings to continued blight. To address this, PHS developed an inexpensive, low-maintenance approach to vacant lots that involves only basic sodding, tree planting, and erection of simple split-rail fencing on the lot. Today, PHS, with support from the city of Philadelphia, has installed and maintains LandCare treatments on more than 7,000 vacant lots across the city.
Facing this problem, cities realized that their vacant land inventories offered an alternative. Instead of using the traditional method of channeling stormwater runoff into the sewers, the water could be channeled toward green spaces, where it could gradually filter through the ground and refill the aquifers under the city. Such a strategy would be far better environmentally and would also reduce the need for massive holding tanks and allow cities to comply with EPA requirements at lower cost. Philadelphia was the first city in the United States to turn the idea into a reality by developing a detailed plan and a 25-year implementation strategy, which was approved by the EPA in 2012.
I make games for a living and I love seeing people have fun – but I really don’t like golf courses. Golf takes up a lot of land and consumes an inordinate amount of water for the amount of entertainment it provides. Essentially, I agree that golf ruins a perfectly good walk.
In China the environmental (and social) costs of golf courses have reached record heights. As a result, over 100 golf courses are being closed by the Chinese government. Ironically, these golf courses were classified as parks and were built since China banned the development of new golf courses in 2004.
China has launched a renewed crackdown on golf, closing 111 courses in an effort to conserve water and land, and telling members of the ruling Communist Party to stay off the links.
The state-run Xinhua News Agency said Sunday the courses were closed for improperly using groundwater, arable land or protected land within nature reserves. It said authorities have imposed restrictions on 65 more courses.
The suburbs are infamous for being inefficient, sprawling, violent, and a great place for growing marijuana. So what to do with all this wasted land? Well, here’s a TED talk on how to convert suburbia into a liveable and more urban space. This video gives me hope for a more sustainable North America.
Growing your own food is good for the planet and for your pocketbook – so why don’t people grow their own food? It’s a really good question (particularly for those who choose to live in the suburbs to have a backyard), and we really should be growing locally. There are more and more people saying that governments of all sizes ought to encourage people to grow their own grub.
Well, opinion formers such as Monty Don showing the way forward is always going to help. That’s why I really like the idea of the WHO Farm Project in the US. It’s an attempt to convince Barack Obama to also reach for the spade when he takes the keys to the White House in January and symbolically dig up the famous front lawn in order to toss in some vegetable seeds. It’s exactly what the Roosevelts did during the second world war and it helped to inspire over 20m so-called “Victory Gardens” across the US.
The garden at 10 Downing St isn’t blessed with quite as many rods of prime growing land, but Buckingham Palace, and other world-famous sites across the UK, certainly are. It’s not as if a decent veg patch needs to take up that much room. And just think of all those other wasted spaces where veg could easily be grown – parks, verges, roundabouts (OK, that might be a little dangerous) and all those monoculture corporate HQ landscaped gardens.
And if Gordon Brown, or any other leader, is thinking about their legacy, what would be better than knowing a vegetable variety has been named after you in recognition of your services to vegetable gardening. The problem for the grateful public would be deciding which vegetable should represent which leader …
Parque Tantauco, which Piñera created in 2005, is on one of South America’s largest islands, Chiloé, off the coast of Patagonia.
Piñera bought the land and immediately set about protecting the offshore habitat of blue whales and the inland virgin forests.
Pulling out a map of the park, Piñera explains his plan, tracing his finger over a trekking route that will be connected by rustic cabins.
‘We have been buying all the land around us. We started with 110,000 acres and now we have 150,000,’ he says. ‘I want my children and grandchildren to remember me for making one more million? No! So I now have many projects like this.’