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Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Sustainable South Bronx ... and sustainability in Washington DC

Sustainable South Bronx.jpgA tee-shirt for sale from Sustainable South Bronx.

One of the ways that I term what I do is "built" environmental justice, as opposed to the more traditional way of thinking of the term, focusing on urban sustainability issues. Last night, at the presentation by Enrique Penelosa, I learned about the Sustainable South Bronx program, as the director, Majora Carter, introduced Enrique.

Programs in DC, such as Washington Parks and People and the Anacostia-focused Earth Conservation Corps, have taken on some of this kind of agenda locally. Sierra Club also has an environmental justice program focused on local issues.

In many ways, I think of the Anacostia as an incredibly opportunity for reconnecting DC residents to environmental issues, although I don't think that's a big part of the agenda of the Anacostia Waterfront Initiative, which focuses more on physical redevelopment. If so, that's captures but a wee portion of the potential.

Connectedness to the world around us is a big part of the work of Timothy Beatley and he discusses it in The Ecology of Place: Planning for Environment, Economy, and Community and Native to Nowhere: Sustaining Home and Community in a Global Age. I am working through the latter book right now.

He makes the point that few of us can name flora and fauna indigenous to the regions where we live, that we don't understand the links between hydrology and the water we drink, etc. (Or my chagrin of local DC schoolchildren who want to name the cherry as the official fruit of the city, yet the Japanese cherry trees in the city don't bear fruit.)

jefferson_mem_cherry_blossomCherry Blossoms at the Jefferson Memorial. Photo from Indospectrum.

Anacostia River, Washington, DCImage of the Anacostia River from the Low Impact Development.

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