Category Archives: Sustainability

Designing an International Garden for the 2014 Horticulture Expo

We love new, unique opportunities. Recently, we were invited to design a display garden representing the city of Long Beach (a sister city to Qingdao) for the 2014 Qingdao International Horticultural Exposition (QIHE). The Expo, which is expected to attract 12 million visitors, will be located on 595 acres (241 hectares) in Baiguo Mountain Forest Park located on the coast of the Yellow Sea, at the Southern end of Shandong Peninsula, China. With numerous garden theme and experience areas, the Long Beach garden will occupy 43 acres within the International Garden.

Our design concept, “Outdoor Living in a Green Environment,” was recently approved by the QIHE Executive Committee. It will exhibit the unique relationship between landscape and al fresco outdoor living in Southern California. The mild Southern California climate allows us the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors nearly year-round, which influences how we live and design our houses. Thus, our display space will be divided into five zones each one representing a significant period of time in Long Beach that showcases the ‘outdoor room’. The zones will emulate the relationship between the environment and the use of garden space through planting design (native and non-native), shelter and open spaces for gathering.

Construction begins this autumn and is expected to be finished by October 2013 to allow QIHE to initiate trial operations of all gardens for the Expo’s opening in April 2014.

Check out media coverage of the 2014 event on The Washington Post, China Daily and China News Center.

The Necessity of Nature – in Defense of Trees

By David Sabunas, ASLA

I recently saw “The Lorax” with my kids, and while they seemed to miss the predominant social/economic/political agenda of the story – these two little kids came away understanding the simple premise that the destruction of nature is bad, and that living in harmony with the environment is good. In other words, they saw the necessity for environmental responsibility and sustainability. As a parent and a landscape architect, I think that seems like a positive lesson worthy of teaching our children.

The idea of living with an appreciation of nature and placing a value on trees is not a new idea. Before the release of this “controversial” movie, (originally published by Dr. Seuss in 1971), many authors have written on the subject: Henry David Thoreau in “Walden” (1854), Sir Ebenezer Howard’s “Garden Cities of Tomorrow” (1902), and Ian McCarg’s “Design with Nature” (1969) are but a few. These authors have had a great deal of influence in the fields of planning and environmental design, but not the ability to reach a wide-scale audience or inspire our youth like Theodore Seuss Geisel or Julius Sterling Morton.

Who was that last one — Julius Sterling Morton?
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4th+Linden Featured in China’s Eco City & Green Building

Our 4th+Linden project was recently spotlighted, among a variety of international projects, in the Chinese publication Eco City & Green Building. The quarterly magazine is distributed among architects, engineers, developers, contractors, interior designers, and government officials, and focuses on advanced concepts in energy efficiency and green architecture. The eight-page layout on 4th+Linden highlights the project’s sustainable features and showcases its context, design process, and end result.

It’s great to know that one of our favorite urban experiments is helping to spread the word about urbanism worldwide – and from what we hear, the article is quite complimentary. (At least we know the pictures are great!) To view the article, click here.

Or, if you’d like to learn more about 4th+Linden and you don’t read Chinese, please see: Adaptive Reuse: Green Space as a Tool for Neighborhood Revitalization

Long Beach Environmental Education Center Featured in MetalMag

The latest edition of MetalMag features the Conservation Corps of Long Beach’s Environmental Education Center, which was designed by Studio One Eleven. Read the article below, or view it here.

Conservation Corps of Long Beach Environmental Education Center
By Jim Schneider

Founded in 1987, the Conservation Corps of Long Beach in Long Beach, Calif., is a nonprofit whose mission is to educate and develop basic work skills and ethics, as well as promote environmental conservation, self esteem and teamwork for at-risk youth in the Long Beach area. As CCLB’s programs grew, so did its need for space and improved facilities. The group has contracts with local property owners and nearby cities to collect recyclables and do recycling. These activities had been done out of the Corps’ headquarters, which wasn’t designed for that use, so it was decided to expand into a new space to house the organization’s recycling efforts.
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Chinese Mobility from a Bus Window

We have been fascinated with transportation and mobility options in China for quite some time. A country with roughly the same land area as the United States, but with five times the population, has the potential to serve as a leader relative to our own mobility future. Continue reading

Cooling Heat Islands

Heat Reducing Islands at 4th + Linden
Dark, non-reflective hardscapes in the city – such as streets, parking lots, building roofs, sidewalks – are known to create heat islands, areas that have an artificially elevated ambient temperature when compared with temperatures in more sustainable environments. We southern Californians enjoy our sunshine, but this type of artificial, urban heat is quite harmful, and can have immediate and lasting effects on the local environment and the global climate.

For buildings, darker, less reflective roofs mean the indoor environment is warmer, thus requiring more air-conditioning to maintain comfort for occupants. Higher cooling loads means more energy burned, CO2 expended, and air pollution created, not to mention higher operating costs. Second, the heat absorbed by the dark surfaces is picked up by the breezes and consequently increases the ambient temperature, which is measured several feet above the surface. For example, on a 90 degree summer day, the ambient temperature above an asphalt parking lot can reach 170 degrees, and lighter-colored grey concrete is about 120 degrees, while areas where there are trees is only 87 degrees! Not only does this heat island effect make it uncomfortable and sometimes unsafe for pedestrians, but it can be harmful to animal and plant life in urban environments.  Last, there is the bigger picture of climate change and global responsibility. The warm air from the dark surfaces is absorbed by clouds and contributes to the greenhouse effect of a warmer planet.  

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