The objective of this work in writing is to present a sustainability proposal for the city of East Orange, New Jersey.
According to the Sustainable Cities Institute (2016) there are various means of creating ‘green infrastructure. One of these methods is known as ‘curb planting’. The Sustainable Cities Institute (2016) notes that it is reported by the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services that “natural drainage and native landscaping areas in residential developments can remove up to 80% of the suspended solids and heavy metals, and up to 70% of nutrients like phosphorus and nitrogen, from stormwater runoff” (p.1). Reported is that curb planters can be used as methods of landscaping that are not expensive and with easy installation and make provision of solutions for runoff of stormwater that is a practical solution (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016).
It is possible to place planters that are contained on any surface that is impervious (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016). In addition, there is little maintenance required for curb planters (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016). However, infiltration and flow-through type planters make a requirement of a larger diversity of plants and enable the draining of stormwater via pipes but these are larger and make a requirement of more maintenance including sediment removal and pipe maintenance (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016). However, all types of planters make a requirement of some level of maintenance so that drainage is ensured (Sustainable Cities, Institute, 2016).
Benefits of Curb Planters
The benefits of curb planters include the following stated benefits: (1) Water quality is improved in water bodies surrounding curb planters (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016); (2) Reductions in stormwater which means less chemical and other pollutants are transferred into the water bodies (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016); (3) Trees and plants provide shade and bring about a reduction in the “heat island effects” as well as bringing about improvements to building efficient for those buildings adjacent to the curb planters (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016); (4) Aesthetic appeal as well as value being added to property in the area (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016); (5) Increases in biodiversity (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016); (6) Recharge of groundwater as it is able to be stored beneath the ground and made available for use by humans by wells being constructed (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016); (7) There is less in the way of interference with the aquatic ecosystems because “stormwater runoff is often warner than the water in streams lakes and rivers” and the runoff water increases temperature in the bodies of water and results in impacts on the aquatic ecosystems that are negative in nature (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016); (8) Increases in wildlife habitat due to attracting insects, animals and organism (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016); (9) Prevention of flooding (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016); and (10) Erosion minimization (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016).
Risks, Action Agents and Costs
According to the Sustainable Cities Institute (2016) there are not any risks involved in using curb planters. However, it is important to ensure that the curb planters are installed properly. Stated as action agents for implementing the use of curb planters are those as follows: (1) Landscape architects; (2) Owners of property; (3) Local government; (4) Horticulturist; and (5) Plant nursery (Sustainable Cities Institute, 2016). The costs associated with using curb planters is minimal and includes those for the soil, plants and drainage system in addition to the planters
Summary and Conclusion
The use of curb planters is promising for many areas of sustainability including the maintenance of the aquatic ecosystem as well as providing better drainage and less runoff of minerals in the soil. The Sustainable Cities Institute (2016) reports that the use of curb planters in terms of their cost, “on a city scale…may be lower than the cost of a new stormwater management facility” (p.1). The cost of installing the curb planters is actually very low compared to the benefits of curb planters. This is an initiative that makes a requirement of collaboration between property owners in the city and the city government.
- Curb Planters (2016) Sustainable Cities Institute. Retrieved from: http://www.sustainablecitiesinstitute.org/topics/water-and-green-infrastructure/green-infrastructure-101/curb-planters
- Green Streets (2016) City of Portland Environmental Services. Retrieved from: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/414873