Winter Park, Florida Goes Out on a Limb

Citygreen - Winter Park, Florida Goes Out on a Limb

Winter Park, Florida Goes Out on a Limb:

As with every July, another essential collection of 50-50 matching grants have been issued by the Director of the Florida Forest Service, and the recipients are already endeavoring on essential and compelling projects and initiatives… “to develop or enhance their urban and community forestry programs.”

The City of Winter Park’s Urban Forestry Division was awarded a $20,000 grant, with the city matching those funds.

These essential funds mark the beginning of the third phase of a project to phase out dead or sickly trees with new ones. It is expected that the project’s completion in the Orange County suburb will span across several years.

“The grant was presented to Winter Park for its partial rights of way tree inventory, and this partial inventory will assist the city in managing rights of way maintenance cycles,” as stated in a recent article in the Orlando Centennial.

The Urban Forestry Management Plan confirms, “In 2005, the city hired ArborPro, Inc., a full service urban forestry and software consulting company to perform an inventory of right of way (ROW) trees.” This proactive decision was in part to a devastating hurricane season in 2004, and the canopy is still recovering ten years later. In 2012, a risk assessment study was performed by ArborPro, Inc. on several hundred of those trees.

Fortunately, Winter Park’s Urban Forestry Division seems to be up to the task, and make available for public knowledge their plans and resources on their main webpage. Resources include a robust list of trees ideal for not only creating diversity in the urban canopy, but also the ideal placement of the tree species, such as along streets and sidewalks.

“The city’s urban forest consists of over 75,000 trees on private and public property and there are over 25,000 trees in city rights of way…” and an estimated third of that population will require removal in the next several years. Moving forward, an emphasis will be put on creating more diversity in the tree species, as the tree populace is imbalanced by a majority of mature trees on a decline, making them more susceptible to hurricane damage, disease, and drought.

Though each local community and environment is unique, Winter Park has found the steps towards an attentive, responsible, successful program, and deciding to do so creates a successful future that any urban forest could enjoy.

photo credit . Winter Park, FL – Ebyabe

Raising The Roof on Urban Landscape Design: Greenroof Future

Citygreen - Raising The Roof on Urban Landscape Design: Greenroof Future

Raising The Roof on Urban Landscape Design: Greenroof Future

As humans, we focus on what we see every day. It stands to reason that much of the discussion of urban canopy and landscape projects and developments take place at ground and subterranean level.

With each passing year for approximately the past 15 years, however, more and more design visionaries and their taskforces are raising their eyes upward…to our rooftops. With the massive amount of square miles taken up by buildings, re-purposing their roofs help us reclaim some of the lost land and create a whole other kind of landscape.

Diana Balmori of Balmori Associates, NY couldn’t agree more. “We need to create a different balance between the inert surfaces and the living surfaces,” Balmori said. With the exception of pockets of urban parks, cities have the sky, the earth, and stories of glass, metal, cement and rock between them. Watching how city dwellers flock to those park spaces, Balmori realizes that there’s a wealth of untapped, unutilized potential not only for the human city dwellers, but the flora and fauna grasping for a foothold in a gray world.

A robust example of the success a rooftop landscape is Balmori’s own 667 acre Public Administration complex in Sejong, Korea. Balmori Associates says, “We proposed a new approach to city-making, one that starts with landscape architecture. The master plan consists of a continuous linear park on a continuous roof joining all the ministries.” In conjunction to providing a reprieve for persons, the task of building a green roof with wildlife in mind requires a whole other set of considerations. “Creating biodiversity on a green roof or green wall is significantly different than restoring it on ground level. On a rooftop there is no preexisting ecology to enhance; everything is from scratch,” states the Green Roof Service webpage of Jörg Breuning, owner.

Given this, the plants, animals and insects are essentially living under an altered set of circumstances, which could affect their continuing habitation and ability to thrive under the new conditions, even with a perfect replication of a landscape indigenous to any particular area.

From an infrastructural standpoint, the installation of green roofs presents vast benefits, including prolonging the life spans of rooftop materials, decreased use and energy consumption of HVAC units, stormwater management, and significant moderation of the Urban Heat Island effect.

Green Roofs for Healthy Cities Community webpage states, “Through the daily dew and evaporation cycle, plants on vertical and horizontal surfaces are able to cool cities during hot summer months and reduce the UHI effect. The light absorbed by vegetation would otherwise be converted into heat energy.” With such evidence of benefits being discovered and explored from several standpoints: the human element, ecology, and infrastructure, a future with more green roof designs should be just on the horizon for landscape design experts, scientists, engineers, and others.

photo credit: Green Roof GardnerCC

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