Planners, designers, citizens, and governmental agencies are interested in measuring and assessing urban design treatments that are environmentally sensitive across numerous environmental design issues such as stormwater, adapting to climate change, wildlife suitability, visual quality, and maintaining soil productivity. This chapter examines a case study in the Grand Rapids Michigan, exploring design ideas for the extension of a medical campus and adjoining areas. The results of the case study present newly derived equations to assess soil productivity. The results of the soil equation development indicate that the soil productivity of an area has two primary dimensions, forming an annual plant preference cluster, a woody plant preference cluster, and a wetland plant preference cluster, where each soil setting requires a different soil profile. The equations explain between 90 and 97% of the variance and are definitive (p-value<.001). The environmental variables examined in the study, including the soil productivity, indicate that the developed master plan for the site is significantly better than traditional approaches and the existing site characteristics (p-value < 0.05).
Part of the book: Sustainable Urbanization
Environmental scientists, natural resources agencies, planners, landscape architects, engineers, and concerned citizens are interested in the impacts that land uses within watersheds have upon lake water quality and water runoff volume. For the past 40 years, much has been discovered and many North American water bodies from small to large can be reliably modeled and studied, employing phosphorus as the identifier of water quality. We present an overview of the key features in this multi-disciplinary effort and illustrate how to apply the general method to Rainbow Lake, in Gratiot County, Michigan, the USA. In addition, we illustrate how these fundamental ideas are being employed at the Haizhu wetland park, a large wetland setting in Guangzhou, the People’s Republic of China, and present Chinese planning and design efforts termed “sponge city” to address new ideas to reduce runoff and improve water quality.
Part of the book: Land Use