Sustainable Landscaping Project Update

With this drought in California, it is crucial to try our best to conserve water. What a better way to do your part than to convert your lawn to a more sustainable drought tolerant landscaping! It is an exciting time, as our group will try to devise a plan to implement sustainable landscaping at the Garner House. The Garner House is still planned to be our selected demonstration site. We hope to encourage as much of the residents the benefit of having a water conscious landscaping, as well being affordable. The front of the Garner House will be the ideal location for implementing the demonstration project and will be the focus of our plan. It is the most visible location for the public as it is located on Indian Hill Blvd. at Memorial Park. Continue reading


Bike Share

This Past week I attended the national Planning conference in Seattle. One of the highlights of my trip was being able to bike in the city. On my route home I came upon an article in planetizen. . Joe Mabel / Flickr

The Pronto bike share program broke record this weekend!! Why? It was because of the national conference itself. Reading this article showed how planners would use a bike system but the cities that they live in do not necessarily have a demand for it? It was very easy to rent. The hardest part to my experience with the bikes was that I am unfamiliar with gears on the bike, but it was easy to figure out as I rode the bike. I think it is great that there is apps like groupon because if it weren’t for the coupon, I am not sure if I would have gone biking. With my friends we purchased tickets and shared the codes in order to get a better deal for the bikes. One of the downsides to the renting is that you only have 30 minutes to use the bike before you are charged more. What my group decided to do is look at the map and where ever another station was near, we would dock our bikes before we were charged more and then wait a minute. Once the minute was up we could rent a bike for another 30 minutes. It is much simpler to use the bike share system on your own. We were a group of six and we could not find enough bikes on the Pronto stops near us. So what we did at the end was some of biked and the others ended up having to take a cab to the Mariners game. I drove to Seattle and on my way their passed through Portland. In Portland I saw full families young and old biking. I think the way Seattle is going it will be something that will also happen their as well. Overall great experience, I had not used a bike share system before, now I have a positive view of it!

Food Waste and Compostables

In Seattle, there are many sustainable initiatives within the City. The one that caught my eye the most was that of composting and the correct disposal of food waste. This is all in the efforts of the City of Seattle to divert about 60% of their waste from landfills. In most public spaces, restaurants, and food courts are waste disposal units with trash, recycling, and composting. Something not too familiar for us residents in Southern California. Talking to most business owners, they do not see the required separation of waste as an inconvenience. Instead, the few business owners that I spoke to were surprised that Southern Californians did not require such a mandate and separation.

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Streets of Seattle


The City of Seattle served as an excellent backdrop and example of good street design for the APA Conference. Though I used ride-sharing and bike-sharing services there, my primary mode of transportation was walking. I found it incredibly easy to walk through the areas I frequented (primarily Capitol Hill and Downtown). The elements I found to be instrumental in creating a safe and inviting walkable environment are as followed: Continue reading

GHG Emission Baselines

The project is gaining traction as we steadily create the content for our final document. The original schedule for the development of greenhouse gas emission baselines has been shifted due to minor complications. This update will provide an inventory summarizing the work we’ve completed as well as insight into the challenges we have addressed and adapted to. Continue reading

UPDATE: Heritage Trees

The scope of this project is to create an interactive map which provides local stakeholders with information on the heritage trees that has already been identified by the City; this tool will also contain images and information regarding the best management practices for the heritage trees. Using this tool, the consultants will prepare a walking tour for local organizations, such as Claremont Heritage and the Rancho Santa Ana Botanical Gardens, to incorporate into their current walking tours. Continue reading

Recycle everything!

After spending five days in Seattle, it was clear that most cities in the country are quickly falling behind. Seattle is proactive in all of the areas of sustainability, it was great to see how these programs work first handedly. One of the obvious programs is how they recycle everything. At home, in restaurants, in the street, at shops, everywhere you went there was the choice to recycle, usually there were three bins or containers, one to recycle plastic, another for paper, and the other one was for compose organic waste, and sometimes one for trash (stuff that wasn’t really recyclable). However, in the recyclable bins one had the choice to recycle the separately within the same container, depending on whether the material is plastic, paper, glass, or aluminum. This was neat to see and after seeing it everywhere including our own AirBnB studio, it was easy to get used to it and even very encouraging to take part because everyone was doing it, everywhere. I was very impressed to see the sustainable efforts the city is taking to educate is own public and creating programs like this that are so abundant throughout the city that it forces one to take part. This was just one of the programs seen throughout the city, there were many more sustainable practices, such as bike share, zip car, pay by phone parking, mix use public spaces, anonymous needle disposals in public bathrooms, plastic bag ban, bike lane networks with its own light signals and appropriate signage, walkable streets promoted by mix uses, shops, bars, restaurants, street art , all abundant throughout the city and at pedestrian level. All of these sustainable practices and more are seen all over the city, if you ever get the chance to go check them out, please do! The rest of America definitely has some catching up to do on their sustainable practices!