The Emerald Necklace: Metrogreen Space Planning in Los Angeles and Beyond
Nov 9, 2014 – Will Allen, Chapel Hill – Claire Robinson, Los Angeles – Mike Houck, Portland
In winter 2009, Houston Wilderness hosted an inaugural meeting of what would become the Metropolitan Greenspace Alliance. Today the Alliance is a national coalition of coalitions working in ecologically, culturally, and economically diverse communities across the US. Alliance members represent Portland, Oregon; Seattle, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Milwaukee, Cleveland, Nashville, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, and Baltimore.
Over 80% of the population in the United States now lives within urban megaregions, and this trend of rising urbanization is similar in countries around the world. Amidst significant investments in “grey” infrastructure to support growing metropolitan regions, conserving nature is increasingly challenging. And, more often than not, the most significant challenge is protecting and restoring natural systems that provide clean air and water and other ecosystem services that nature provides us.
Metropolitan regions that effectively incorporate greenspace and Green Infrastructure into their urban fabric share several things in common, often including ample parks and natural areas, both in quantity and equitable distribution; innovative stormwater management; climate adaptation strategies; public transportation and recreational trail networks; and sustainable food production and delivery systems. Whether it’s Vancouver, Reykjavík, Malmö, Portland, or any number of cities around the world that are “green” or in the process of “greening,” the collaboration among governments, nonprofits, scientists, natural resource agencies, and urban planners is essential to transform a place from grey to a green, living, interconnected network of systems that benefit humans and the unique urban ecosystem they inhabit. Complete Article