Magazine article American Forests

Preparing the Next Generation

Magazine article American Forests

Preparing the Next Generation

Article excerpt

How a state official and university professor used CITYgreen to teach students about the value of trees and forests.

When students at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City begin the fall semester, several thousand will be living in newly constructed dormitories. But as they settle in, few will know how the design of those buildings educated more than a dozen students about environmentally friendly planning.

In April 1998 five graduates and 10 undergraduates signed up for Geography 593, a new course that helped them appreciate the environmental challenges in designing urban landscapes that retain soil quality, manage stormwater runoff, control pollution, reduce energy consumption, and use solar energy to cool

urban areas.

The goal: to select sites in Salt Lake City and use AMERICAN FORESTS' CITYgreen software to help urban designers and architects plan environmentally friendly projects. Individuals, planners, and students use CITYgreen to map urban environments and measure the economic benefits of trees, soils, and other natural resources through Geographic Information Systems (GIS).

"It was a remarkable, positive, hands-on experience," says University of Utah geography and research professor Merrill Ridd, who taught the course. "The greatest payoff of CITYgreen was for the students themselves. [They] had to look at vegetation, curbs, gutters, and replacement, and as a result they will never look at environmental planning the same way again."

Ridd heard about CITYgreen from Camille Russell, coordinator of Cool Communities and the Urban Heat Island Pilot Project for the Utah Office of Energy Service in Salt Lake City. Russell wanted to create a bridge between her program and the educational community and says she thought CITYgreen would be "the perfect tool."

Students applied CITYgreen to two urban development projects. …

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