...for Green Infrastructure
“A leaner, lighter approach to infrastructure is more cost-effective, sustainable, and livable – an idea worth considering . . .”
The ratio of greenery to impervious pavement has a big impact on the quality of life and experience. The typical engineering approach to stormwater is to direct it to catch basins, install pipe, and dump it into geometrically shaped holes in the ground. Developers like to call the surrounding land “lakefront property”, but as the Bard said – “A rose by any other name . . .”
The notion of Low Impact Development has been around for a while. It embraces mimicking natural processes that promote water soaking back into the ground, rather than embracing the more conventional engineering approach. More recently, the Light Imprint Initiative has emerged on the scene, thanks to the New Urbanist approach to planning. It goes beyond stormwater management to address the matter of urban form. Light Imprint (LI) “emphasizes sustainability, pedestrian-oriented design, and increased environmental and infrastructural efficiency” while reducing a community’s construction costs.
So our final Great Idea that the New Urbanism provides for Senior Living is Light Imprint for Green Infrastructure. One of the more positive aspects of LI is that a multi-disciplinary planning & design team collaborates on a comprehensive approach to site development early on, with green infrastructure being part of the aesthetic of the place – rather than the engineering (or the landscape architecture for that matter) being an afterthought. Another thing I like about LI is the tactic of approaching stormwater management on a block-by block neighborhood scale, searching for ways to combine elements to invest in the public realm. Basically, the question is “How can we meet the functional requirements of stormwater management while also creating site amenities at the same time?”
We are doing just that on one of our projects. We transformed those “geometric holes in the ground” into sculpted ponds with naturalized shoreline and aquatic plantings. Vertical retaining walls were used at one key location to create a usable waterfront patio just outside of the skilled nursing facility so that residents who are far less ambulatory (and the staff attending them) can enjoy a breath of fresh air while they watch the wonder of nature. Now that enhances wellbeing!
The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is a comprehensive certification system for developing sustainable land. It is organized around the ecosystem processes that benefit people, focusing on the specific elements (water, soil and vegetation, materials selection, human health and wellbeing, construction, and finally operations and maintenance). Check out their Resources page, and consider pursuing certification.
 https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2017/05/15/great-idea-light-imprint-walkable-green-infrastructure accessed 1/14/19
Baby Boomers Don’t fit the Profile – They’re not like their parents! Providers are shifting to a lifestyle centered around entertainment, leisure, and wellness in order to remain relevant to the new market. We believe that a lot can be learned from the New Urbanism about enhancing wellbeing for tomorrow’s seniors. This is the last in a 7-part series highlighting Great Ideas for the Aging Services Industry from the principles of New Urbanism.
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Brad Smith Associates, Inc. is a mold-breaking exterior planning and design firm serving the aging services industry. Our approach puts people first, focusing on their unique needs while cultivating a deep sense of community. That is done by using a rational problem-solving method, infused with Imaginality™, combining the five key components of PLACE-Creation into our designs:
Planning - Applied foresight to achieve your project goals
Lifestyle - Delivering a better result for people by understanding their needs and lifestyles
Aesthetics - The aesthetics of a property speak to the "brand essence", greatly affecting marketing.
Community - a sense of meaning, identity and belonging for the people living there
Economics - informed decision-making on the front end during the design process can yield significant dividends on the back end (by reducing ongoing operations and maintenance costs).
We're landscape architects and planners by profession, and we love putting our talents to work to create value for you.
How can we help you maximize your potential in the marketplace? We'd like to learn more about how we can help you achieve great things - whether that involves planning new construction, making repairs or renovations, or completely re-positioning your product offering.