70. Cool the City 1 Degree and Plant 10,000 Urban Trees

In 2007 Chicago introduced its Climate Action Plan that addressed everything from infrastructure to ecosystems.  The plan outlines a grim picture of energy demands and their associated cost implications.  The projections and impacts report on infrastructure notes: As the average temperature and number of extreme heat days increases, the cost to retrofit buildings with cooling…

69. Prune and Maintain Street Trees

Knowing the value that trees, especially street trees, bring to our communities and neighborhoods, it does not make sense to utilize maintenance strategies that would jeopardize that value.  It’s counter productive for energy companies looking for ways to reduce residential energy use to maim trees around power lines, which reduce energy in a variety of ways….

68. Use Trees to Improve Visual Hierarchy at Intersections

If you want to highlight something, visual hierarchy is a good way to alert people.  Differentiating the pattern of trees as you approach intersections, either as a pedestrian or a motorist, can help visually identify intersections or drives along routes.  This can contribute to the safety of the environment, to overall city wayfinding, while also…

67. Develop an Economic Analysis of South Bend Tree Impact

According to the South Bend Parks and Recreation 2015 Annual Report, the City has an estimated 107,789 trees. If these trees provide just an annual benefit of $200 per tree, a conservative estimate based on some calculators, the overall value would be over $21.5 million each year.  Because mature trees have a greater value than…

66. Plant Native Ornamental Trees Along River Corridor

Eastern Redbud trees are native to Indiana. According to the Audubon Society, because native plants are adapted to local environmental conditions, they require far less water, saving time, money, and perhaps the most valuable natural resource, water. In addition to providing vital habitat for birds, many other species of wildlife benefits as well. Beyond that,…

65. Mitigate Urban Tree Loss: 3:1

According to the South Bend Parks and Rec. 2015 Annual Report, they cut down nearly nine times as many trees as they planted (725 park and street trees cut down vs 83 planted).  What’s frightening is that this only takes into account the quantity of lost trees.  However, larger trees process far more carbon dioxide,…

64. Use Abandoned Lots as Nursery Space

As cities look to both improve their tree canopy and activate vacant lots, consideration should be given to using those lots to grow trees. Larger trees are more expensive and while that may be a marginal amount compared to the cost of most infrastructure projects, in order to significantly increase the urban canopy, this could…

63. Create Public Space Design Standards That Support Social Justice

When thinking about public design standards, namely the Code of Ordinances that municipalities abide by for all new planning and construction projects, social justice isn’t the first thing that comes to mind.  But as studies that look at intergenerational mobility, the places where we live have a distinct impact on how well we do in life….

62. Increase Native Planting and Improve Biodiversity in Public Spaces

Biodiversity improves ecosystem productivity and treaties have been signed to protect it (Biosafety Protocol 2000).  According to the European Commission, biodiversity helps purify water and air, it improves soil quality and reduces carbon dioxide, and even creates cultural inspiration.  Additionally, biodiversity and native planting helps create pollinator habitats. The systemic impacts of supporting pollinators include food…

61. Sacred Space Art Installations

Art is a unifying element.  It helps make invisible and abstract concepts more accessible and concrete.  Which is exactly what spiritual health is all about; a way to process the world.  The interpretations that artists offer on different topics helps us process meaning and look at the world in new ways and through different lenses….

60. Support the City Cemeteries as Passive Recreation Parks

Cemeteries were the first parks. While that may seem a bit of a stretch for most, especially applied in any contemporary sense, these open spaces can serve multiple roles for communities.  Fundamentally, they are a place for burial, and as such, programming is limited to primarily passive recreation (walking) out of respect. However, with that…

59. Cultivate Neighborhood Sacred Spaces

Sacred spaces have served as de facto community centers, both visually and programmatically for neighborhoods. While religious institutions may not be the centers of neighborhood life they once were, integrating sacred spaces into the fabric at the street or district scale provides a holistic approach to community health, addressing both mental and spiritual health opportunities….