Posted on Categories Land Use, Sustainable LivingTags , , , ,

Pop-up parklet comes to Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square 

A group of local designers hung out all day Friday in a little pop-up parklet they created on the western side of Old Courthouse Square. The space — a carpet of sod with orange chairs and stools perched atop it — took up two of the square’s metered parking places from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, with the city’s OK, as part of a larger call to think about the way cities utilize urban space, billed internationally as Park(ing) Day.
A parklet is a pedestrian patch extending beyond a sidewalk into the street, intended to provide additional recreational amenities for people in areas typically devoid of them.
In Friday’s case, the parklet abutting Santa Rosa’s reunified square — a temporary one set up by TLCD Architecture, Quadriga Landscape Architecture and Planning, and MKM Associates Architects — wasn’t really in a place in need of a parklet, but that wasn’t the point.
The design firms set it up to open a conversation with passers-by about the way cities are planned — around people or cars.In Santa Rosa, the parklet producers argue, it might be the latter.
“The whole premise behind Park(ing) Day is that the majority of our open space is dedicated to the private vehicle and not to people,” said Christine Talbot, a landscape architect with Quadrica.Beyond that, the parklet’s theme was shade. Specifically, Santa Rosa’s lack of it, Talbot said.
“We came up with a concept to engage the space and talk about what we thought was important, which was shade,” she said. “I think we’re talking about public space in general, and I think in Santa Rosa there are some lovely streets with amazing trees, and then there are other streets where there is no room for trees or the trees have been stunted. Our shade canopy is not as lush as it could be.”
Read more at: Pop-up parklet comes to Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square | The Press Democrat –

Posted on Categories Habitats, WildlifeTags , ,

Nonprofit seeks support for Market St. butterfly habitat

Carrie Sisto, HOODLINE
If you pay attention as you walk along Market Street in the Financial District, you may notice bright yellow and black butterflies darting in and out of sunlight amongst the plazas, trees and other open spaces.
Surprisingly, the buildings and trees lining both sides of the busy thoroughfare, the flow of traffic, and the large, open plazas all combine to serve as an excellent stand-in for the tiger swallowtails’ typical river canyon habitat, Nature in the City (NitC) executive director Amber Hasselbring told us. The organization, founded in 2005 to support, enhance, and preserve local nature in San Francisco’s urban environment, is hosting a butterfly walk at lunchtime on Thursday, September 14th.
Read more at: Nonprofit Seeks Support For Market St. Butterfly Habitat | Hoodline

Posted on Categories Land UseTags , ,

Vision emerging for last segment of Windsor Town Green

A vision for redeveloping a last remaining swath of downtown Windsor could come into a little more focus this week.
The Town Council on Wednesday will discuss future plans for the northern edge of Windsor’s signature Town Green and its Civic Center site.They include tearing down Town Hall, the police station, or school district offices to create surface parking; using the Huerta gymnasium site to make way for a hotel, conference facility and retail space; and a “pavilion,” multipurpose events center on the current site of the regional library.
Those are just a few of the possibilities that emerged from a series of community visioning workshops last spring in addition to interviews with residents, business owners, property owners and town staff.
“This is an introductory moment as to what we may or may not do with those lands,” Mayor Mark Millan said Friday. “This is just the beginning of some interesting dialogue for all of us.”
The council will weigh three alternatives presented by consultants Wallace, Roberts and Todd, part of a $200,000 contract approved in February for analysis of new development of the civic center site and property stretching north to the intersection of Old Redwood Highway and Windsor Road.
Read more at: Vision emerging for last segment of Windsor Town Green

Posted on Categories Land Use, Sustainable LivingTags , ,

Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square project improves conditions for new trees


Later this year, workers reunifying Old Courthouse Square will plant dozens of new trees to replace the towering redwoods and others that were felled at the beginning of the project in downtown Santa Rosa.

Whether the new sycamores and crepe myrtles thrive in their urban environment will depend largely on innovative underground preparations underway this week.
Workers began installing more than 1,000 black plastic structures that future visitors to the square will never see, but will directly affect how well the trees grow.
Called Silva Cells, the rectangular blocks, which look a bit like large hollow Legos, are designed to create subterranean spaces where tree roots can grow freely and storm water can collect before flowing into nearby Santa Rosa Creek.

Trees in urban environments often fail to thrive because they are planted in heavily compacted soil that prevents them from getting the air, water and nutrients they need, said Shawn Freedberg, an account manager with the San Francisco-based DeepRoot Green Infrastructure. Instead of growing downward and outward, tree roots often grow upward, resulting in pushed up sidewalks and pavement damage, he explained.

Read more at: Santa Rosa’s Old Courthouse Square project stakes out space for new trees