March 23, 2010
We really like attending conferences; we always learn so much. For example, at the recent MillionTreesNYC symposium we learned about the city's Green Infrastructure and Urban Ecology "Sites of Interest" such as Washington Square (#3), Union Square (#5), High Line (#6) parks. These are three of 12 sites in Manhattan. No sites were identified in the other four boroughs.
How does the High Line provide green infrastructure and urban ecology? "The High Line is an excellent example of multi-partner collaboration for sustainability and innovate [sic] ecological design....a model for revitalization of existing infrastructure." Another way in which the park is a model of urban ecology - its mostly native species planting palette designed by Piet Oudolf.
Union Square hosts "New York City's first, largest and most famous Greenmarket" whose vendors provide local fruits, vegetables, etc. Also, the trees on 17th Street and Union Square West (photograph) have been planted in structural soil to provide more "useable soil volume for root growth."
The restoration of Washington Square Park continues with the eastern section of the park/ second phase (above). This phase features "restored landscaping, plantings, and flower beds replacing excess asphalt" which will reduce the local urban heat island.
One thing of note: the trees have been surrounded by tree protection zones but the protection zones seem inadequate. The "critical root zone" is typically calculated as 1' of root zone for every 1" of diameter at breast height. The protection zones in Washington Square Park do not adhere to this ratio.
Where's the green infrastructure in your city?