Enhancing Sustainability Through Nature's Services

An innovative research project measures "nature's services" supporting approximately 50,000 residents in a dense urban Los Angeles neighborhood.

"In providing services required by urban dwellers, today's cities, by and large, have opted for engineering rather than ecologically based systems. For example, in order to deal with increased stormwater runoff, cities typically build more storm drains rather than increase permeable surfaces to enhance groundwater recharge, which would reduce the amount of polluted stormwater discharged into the ocean. The nature's services concept, which explores ecological alternatives to engineering systems, is an emerging new paradigm for planning and retrofitting cities as well as an energy-conserving design approach to construction... Using a two-square-mile area around Vermont and Western avenues in the city of Los Angeles as a case study site, the USC team measured the existing vegetation and nature's services supporting approximately 50,000 residents through an innovative application of CITYgreen, a geographical information systems (GIS) program. The research team also assessed the attitudes of the largely immigrant community about "greening" policies and practices that successfully engage and support their densely populated, ethnically and linguistically diverse neighborhood."

Thanks to Chris Steins

Full Story: Enhancing Sustainability Through 'Nature's Services'

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