Archive for the ‘landscaping’ Tag

From the Office to the Built Environment

Today is going to be slightly different than past posts as I will talk about the transition from the office to the outside built environment. I was glancing about Yahoo! when I first came into work and one article I read got me thinking. It talked about several ways you can make your office space more pleasant, and I found that many of the tips they had given can be transformed to work as tips for making the built environment more pleasant.

The first tip mentioned is to reuse drinking cups because some materials take a long time to break down in landfills. Lots of materials buildings are made out of can be reworked to be recycled. One example comes from one of my earlier post about Cleveland where locals took bricks from a school that was to be demolished and placed the bricks as walkway inside a community garden near the heart of the city. Not only can bricks be reused, but many of the metallic materials can be smoldered down into new products as well.

The second tip they gave was to make your lunch and bring it to work. It is a simple way to save money, but if you were to make your own food in your backyard or community garden, think of the money you can save while at the same time avoiding chemically altered fruits and vegetables. It may be a hassle to do this for many people so this idea may be out of the question for many people, but at the same time imagine if it became the trendy thing to do.

Tip number three is to breathe fresh by livening your desk with a plant or two. Countless studies show that greenery increases happiness and that as humans, we love being around nature. When we step out to our streets, it should not be a jungle of cars and the infrastructure to support them, but rather a pleasant built landscape that is comfortable and exciting to walk through.

The final tip is to dress the part- come into work with clothes you bought second hand and advertise your ways. The advertising of this part is crucial, because too many people do not feel this part is feasible/ socially acceptable/ economically beneficial, etc. By being obvious about your ways shows your confidence in your beliefs, and may persuade others to jump on board with you, even if it is slightly.

There of course are implications with these tips, mainly the economic impact it would have if a large portion of people started to employ these ways. At the same time, we should not underestimate the ability of human personality to adapt to the conditions.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, Vertices LLC

The Yahoo! article can be found here: http://green.yahoo.com/blog/greenpicks/245/green-your-desk.html

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Streetscaping in Salisbury, NC

An area of Salisbury, NC where improvements have already taken place www.ci.salisbury.nc.us

An area of Salisbury, NC where improvements have already taken place http://www.ci.salisbury.nc.us

Streetscapes are seldom recognized as one of the most important parts of streetlife. But when red brick textured sidewalks are shaded by trees on a hot summer day, streetscapes can be appreciated. Good streetscapes also contribute to a walkable culture, and attract window shoppers to stop and check out what local businesses have to offer.

Salisbury, NC is currently working on sprucing up their streetscape in hopes of making the downtown area more of an attractive and unique place. The first step to this visioned plan is to bury the utility wires. Removing the wires from the air above and placing them below the sidewalk will allow for more shade trees to line the promenade and will remove the ugly overhanging wires from view. In addition to the utility lines being buried, “other streetscape improvements envisioned include a mast-arm traffic signal pole at Kerr Street, the elevation of granite curbing, brick sidewalks, street trees, pedestrian lighting and parking improvements.”

Sidewalk texturing can be a big aesthetic improvement. Since us human tend to look down at an angle of 15 degrees or so, we naturally are looking at the ground ahead of us. An interesting sidewalk pattern and color is subconsciously an attraction for our eyes.

Street trees allow for shade on the sidewalk during the warmer months. It is a small comfort feature that few might think would be a result of planning, but rather a result of landscaping. Street trees also shade off store fronts from sunlight that would otherwise heat up the insides of the buildings, resulting in a greater need for air conditioning. In the colder months, trees shed their shade and allow the sun to heat up the insides of the buildings. Street trees are a small example of how landscaping can help improve energy efficiency.

Max Stember-Young, Rutgers University Student Intern, Vertices, LLC

Material drawn from: http://www.salisburypost.com/Area/062609-north-lee-street-utility-work