How green is green enough? That's one question that will be addressed this Thursday night, June 27, at a forum on green spaces in Atlanta. Jeannette Yen, director of the Center for Biologically Inspired Design at Georgia Tech, plans to ask citizens and community leaders to consider a continuum of green spaces, from golf courses to natural ecosystems.
Golf courses are high maintenance and rely on pesticides and water. But they also provide places to be outside to relax and get exercise. On the other end of the continuum, if we provide access to natural ecosystems, are we enabling the degradation of that precious habitat? What are ways to improve these places to become a good green space - one that is natural, resilient, healthy and regenerative?
For golf courses, we are changing the way we maintain them, using secondary treated effluent from local wastewater treatment plants. Over time, their wetlands and surrounding forests become habitats for fish, herons, bald eagles, osprey, sandhill cranes and other migrating birds, as well as alligators, bears, foxes, coyotes, possums, raccoons, and others.
For natural ecosystems, what if we placed the paths where the deer walk and take a look at the world from the viewpoint of that deer. We can learn that goat trails are much steeper because of their nimble mobility. Perhaps all trails lead to the oasis where the diversity of life gathers?
Where in this continuum would you place Georgia Tech's Eco-Commons program? We plan to construct, manage and monitor the landscape to perform ecologically, amending soils so they will infiltrate and store rainwater. We will recreate the functional idea of the natural stream that did flow through the campus, protecting the existing trees and original landform. Perhaps we’ll build an aquaponics system like the one we are building at Truly Living Well, where the fish naturally fertilize the water for growing vegetables in a closed loop system.
Thursday's event is sponsored by the Atlanta Journal Constitution and PNC Bank. It is free and open to the public. Click here to register.
For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact: