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Archives for October 28, 2016

Tiburon home with splendid gardens, fantasy playground, and panoramic view





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This striking home, designed by world-renowned architect Fu-tung Cheng, rests upon gorgeously landscaped grounds, overlooking Marin’s pricey, scenic Tiburon.

Recently remodeled to add a 3,000-square-foot wing, the now 7,387-square-foot home offers — along with six bedrooms and seven and a half baths — a formal dining room, study, gym, and eight car “parking pavilion.” The new additions, reportedly, represent a $10 million investment by the current owners.

Spectacular setting

Despite big-name architecture, the landscaping is the true star of this listing. These award winning grounds seem to have everything a family might need for upscale outdoor living: lush lawns, gardens, wandering paths, an amazing playground, a topiary maze, and more, all of it with spectacular panoramic view.

The home has caught the attention of many a media outlet, including Architectural Digest, Dwell Magazine, HomeDesign, SF Magazine, and Metropolitan Home.

Does it perhaps catch your attention? Indeed, this property is easy on the eyes, though not so easy to buy… You’ll need $7.19 million to own 35 Hacienda Drive.

Anna Marie Erwert writes from both the renter and new buyer perspective, having (finally) achieved both statuses. She focuses on national real estate trends, specializing in the San Francisco Bay Area and Pacific Northwest. Follow Anna on Twitter: @AnnaMarieErwert.

Article source: http://blog.sfgate.com/ontheblock/2016/10/28/tiburon-home-with-splendid-gardens-fantasy-playground-and-panoramic-view/

Researchers reproduce evolutionary path with designer lignin

When scientists reported in 2014 that they had successfully engineered a poplar plant “designed for deconstruction,” the finding made international news. The highly degradable poplar, the first of its kind, could substantially reduce the energy use and cost of converting biomass to a number of products, including biofuels, pulp and paper.

Now, some of those same researchers are reporting a surprising new revelation. As University of Wisconsin–Madison biochemistry Professor John Ralph puts it, “Nature was already doing what we thought we’d laboriously taught her to do.”

To make the hybrid poplar, Ralph, Shawn Mansfield, Curtis Wilkerson, and other Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center researchers had incorporated an exotic gene conferring weak bonds into the plant’s lignin, the hard-to-process compound that gives plant cell walls their sturdiness but makes them difficult to process in an industrial setting. The resulting lignin, dubbed zip-lignin, readily breaks down under simple chemical conditions.

This new GLBRC-led study, published Oct. 14 in Science Advances, shows that those poplar trees and many other plants from all over the phylogenetic tree have actually evolved to naturally produce zip-lignin. In other words, not only can we potentially breed for degradability in plants, but humans may have been doing just that—selecting certain plants for easier processing—for thousands of years.

“We didn’t know the plants were making the native zip because we couldn’t detect it,” says Steve Karlen, a research scientist at UW–Madison and the paper’s lead author. “When we added the new gene we thought we were adding functionality, but we were actually increasing what was already there.”

Even though the team couldn’t at first detect native zip-lignin in poplar trees or in angelica, the Chinese herb from which the group had taken the gene, its absence did raise some questions. Ralph had long suspected that some plant somewhere was naturally creating zip-lignin. And Karlen wondered how angelica, or any plant for that matter, could be making the molecules that confer weak bonds in lignin but not incorporate them.

Using a method that Ralph’s group had developed decades ago, plus a new and highly sensitive mass spectrometer, Karlen sharpened his focus, finding a way to detect low levels of native zip-lignin in poplar trees. With the help of Philip Harris, a professor of biological sciences at the University of Auckland in New Zealand, Karlen began a full-scale phylogenic study, seeking to determine what other plants might contain native zip-lignin.

Karlen was soon elbow-deep in greenhouses, gardens and landscaping beds all over the UW–Madison campus. Examining the more than 60 plant samples brought back to the lab revealed that zip-lignin is found in an exceptionally diverse array of plants: in balsa, in birds of paradise, in all the grasses he sampled, and in about half of the hardwoods, to name just a few.

With collaborator Laura Bartley, an associate professor of microbiology and plant biology at the University of Oklahoma, Karlen also found zip-lignin in rice. Since an entirely different gene was responsible for making this lignin, the team determined that plants have independently evolved to make zip-lignin, essentially developing a common feature through entirely different means.

Although Karlen and his collaborators don’t yet know what the evolutionary advantage of native zip-lignin might be for plants, its widespread presence broadens the scope of their research and holds out the possibility of increasing, either through engineering or breeding, the degradability of a surprisingly vast array of plants.

“The fact that natural plants are already doing this means there are a lot more genes available for doing this than we knew about,” says Ralph. “And that means a much broader opportunity to learn from and take advantage of what these natural plants are already doing.”

 

 

Article source: http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/13853/researchers-reproduce-evolutionary-path-with-designer-lignin

Wicked plants hide in backyards

CLYDE – As if this time of year isn’t scary enough, now there’s danger right in your backyard — unless, that is, you know what you’re looking for.

Lynette Fox, an Ohio Certified Nursery Technician and manager at Sullivan Gardens, will share information on how to recognize and avoid dangerous plants during her Oct. 31 program, “Wicked Plants – Poisonous Plants in Your Backyard,” at Clyde Public Library.

Last winter, Fox purchased a book on poisonous plants from around the world at a local bookstore. Even with her professional background in botany, she was astounded by what she discovered, including information on the poisons found in tobacco and cashews.

“Tobacco as a green plant is poisonous. It’s phenomenal the number of acres that are grown and harvested for cigarettes,” she said. “Cashew shells are so poisonous they have to be steamed open instead of cracked so the shells don’t get in with the nuts.”

The surprising information in the book inspired Fox to do further research on toxic plants in an effort to discover poisons that might be lurking in local backyards. She was again astonished by what she found.

“I realized people need to be made aware of these things. They need to know how poisonous some of them are,” she said. “I wanted to do a program on the oddball poisonous plants that you wouldn’t think of in your landscaping.”

During the Wicked Plants program, Fox will discuss common perennials, shrubs and weeds that many people don’t realize are poisonous, including tulips and hyacinths.

“The bulbs can cause dermatitis. I looked it up. The pictures are just gross,” she said.

Other surprising poisonous plants commonly found in local yards are Bleeding Heart, Lily of the Valley and Foxglove.

“If you look in the catalogs, they are not labeled as poisonous or toxic,” Fox said.

Avoiding common poisonous plants isn’t necessarily about keeping them out of your landscape — except in extreme sensitivity cases. It is about having the knowledge to recognize the plants and knowing how to handle them safely. Often, only one part of the plant is dangerous, and wearing gloves is sufficient to avoid a reaction.

“A lot of it is preventative and knowing what parts are good and what parts are bad,” Fox said. “For instance, we sell monkshood here, and it is poisonous. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll be OK if you don’t get the sap all over you.”

During the week, Fox works as manager at Sullivan Gardens, where she is selling a wide assortment of mums.

“We have early blooming and some that will bloom in the next few weeks,” she said.

As Thanksgiving nears, the shop will begin selling pre-cut Scotch pine and Frasier fir Christmas trees, as well as grave blankets and pillows, cemetery and Christmas wreaths and evergreen pots. Fox handmakes the bows for the items.

“We sell a lot of Christmas trees,” Fox said.

Sullivan Gardens offers full landscaping services, including patios and pavers, tree installation and design services. It sells stone, mulch and landscaping décor. It is located at 2370 McPherson Highway between Fremont and Clyde. For more information, call 419-355-8505.

“Wicked Plants – Poisonous Plants in Your Backyard” will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Clyde Public Library. The program is free. For more information, call the library at 419-547-7174.

Contact News-Messenger correspondent Sheri Trusty at sheri.trusty@gmail.com or 419-639-0662.

Article source: http://www.thenews-messenger.com/story/news/local/2016/10/27/wicked-plants-hide-backyards/92782192/

How to choose a street tree, solve a rose mystery: master gardeners Q&A

Summer may be over, but gardening questions keep on coming. Get answers from Ask an Expert, an online question-and-answer tool from Oregon State University’s Extension Service. OSU Extension faculty and Master Gardeners reply to queries within two business days, usually less. To ask a question, simply go to the OSU Extension website and type in a question and the county where you live. Here are some questions asked by other gardeners. What’s yours? 

Q: I am looking for a small to medium tree to put in a small front yard next to a busy street to be used a bit as screening. Multi-stemmed maybe. Would like fall color. It does get a lot of summer sun (on west side). I’m thinking a cascara or I’d love a Japanese maple or similar. Ideas? – Multnomah County 

A: Although you didn’t say so, it sounds like this tree is going into a narrow strip between the curb and the sidewalk. If so or, even if not, this list of approved street trees for our region should help you decide which trees might suit your needs. It compares the trees according the minimum planting space; fall color; and whether the tree can be used under powerlines.  

After you select several possibilities, use this site for images of the trees in various seasons, their leaves, flowers, seeds. – Jean Natter, OSU Extension Master Gardener 

Q: I collected some seed from what I thought was a Nootka rose in a woodland field in Portland. I definitely had the “native” rose look to it and was 4 to 5 feet tall with arching branches. The seed sprouted this last spring and now I have a 2-foot rose growing. However, I noticed it is thornless. I can’t find a single thorn on it and I know Nootka roses generally have two thorns at nodes. Could this be a Nootka rose? If not, what other thornless, wild roses are there in Oregon? 

A: Your rose is probably not a Nootka rose. Besides Nootka rose (Rosa nutkana), other native roses here include clustered wild rose (Rosa pisocarpa), wood rose (Rosa woodsii var. ultramontane) and baldhip rose (Rosa gymnocarpa). However, these also normally have thorns. Sometimes younger stems on the baldhip rose do not have thorns but are covered with stalked glands that can be seen with a hand lens. 
 
There is also a possibility that your rose is smooth rose (Rosa blanda) which is native in 21 states but not in the Pacific Northwest. Stems are mostly thornless. New growth lacks thorns, it does have arching stems, and grows on woodland edges. – Bill Hutmacher, OSU Extension Master Gardener 

Q: My rose bushes were prematurely over-pruned and all the rose hips were cut off. I have 49 rose hips, ranging in size from a large pea to a small golf ball, which I had hoped to consume for their health benefits once they were ripe. So I trimmed the stems to 3 to 4 inches and put them in a glass of cold water. Is there any way I can encourage them to ripen so I can use them, or can they be used while they are still very green? – Multnomah County 

A: Rose hips should be harvested after they have turned at least orange, and better red. They are sweeter after the first frost. Green hips may not have any pulp and/or may not have good flavor. You could try your green rose hips by first rinsing in cold water. Then cut off both the blossom end and the stem end and dry them. Remove the seeds, and then dry them. Because your hips are green, I would make tea from them now to insure the flavor is acceptable. If the flavor is good, you can freeze or dry them for storage and have them available for recipes. 

The articles Wild Roses and Harvesting Rose Hips, Tips and Recipes give good information on harvesting, handling and storing rose hips, plus some good recipes. – Anne Schmidt, OSU Extension Master Gardener 

Q: Is it helpful to aerate the lawn in November? – Marion County 

A: Even though timing aeration of the lawn in the fall might seem like a good idea, it’s not. The reason: Aeration is best done just prior to when the grass will normally start to grow. In our region, the optimum window is mid-March to mid-April.  

This publication describes three different levels of care for lawns: low, medium and high. Whatever is your choice, it’s recommended to aerate in spring. See “Practical Lawn Care for Western Oregon” – Jean Natter, OSU Extension Master Gardener 

The OSU Extension Service provides a variety of gardening information on its website at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/community/gardening. Resources include gardening tips, videos, podcasts, monthly calendars of outdoor chores, how-to publications, and information about the Master Gardener program. 

Article source: http://www.oregonlive.com/hg/index.ssf/2016/10/choosing_a_street_tree_solving.html

Top tips for making your garden wildlife friendly

09:48 28 October 2016

Can you make a hedgehog hideaway?

Marek Tihelka

As the clocks go back this weekend, find out how you can open a bird cafe, make a butterfly banquet or create a hedgehog hideaway in your garden.

With the clocks going back this weekend, wildlife in North Devon is starting to think about hibernating.

While we can’t all snuggle up and sleep away the winter, there are plenty of things you can do to make your garden wildlife friendly.

Homebuilders Barratt Homes, who have built Riverside Park in Fremington, have teamed up with the RSPB to offer some tips on looking after wildlife.

1. Open up a own bird café

A fantastic way for new homeowners to invite wildlife into their garden is by opening up a bird café to attract all kinds of colourful feathered friends.

You can do this easily by investing in a bird feeder or a roofed bird table and getting a mixture of seeds, fruits, nuts and oats to put in them.

Different types of birds prefer different types of food, so if you’re looking to have variety in your garden, be sure to pick up an assortment of bird food.

Other than topping up the bird feed when it’s empty and making sure you clean your feeders often, you can sit back, relax and enjoy your very own wildlife show in the comfort of your garden.

2. Make a butterfly banquet from your leftovers

Butterflies need your help this autumn.

Autumn butterflies like red admirals, painted ladies and comma butterflies require sugary treats every so often this season so homeowners can help them feast by putting mushy bananas in a sheltered chest high place in their garden for them to enjoy.

This top tip requires little effort and is perfect for homeowners looking to add an extra splash of colour to their new garden.

As the mashed up banana ferments, the stunning butterflies should pay you a visit and whilst they are enjoying their treat they can stay in your garden for hours on end.

3. Create a safe hideaway by building a wildlife hotel

Create a birdfeeder in your garden.

As we move out of summer and the colder weather draws in for autumn, more ambitious homeowners might want to try building a safe hideaway for bugs and creepy crawlies to live in.

This can be done by gathering old materials such as wood and soil and crafting a small structure as a base for the hotel.

Then, the idea is to provide as many different holes, spaces, tunnels and cosy beds for all types of wildlife to climb into to keep them safe.

4. Support Remembrance Day and give bees a banquet by sowing a poppy patch

Here, new homeowners can show their support for Remembrance Day whilst giving bees a banquet and providing a dense cover for other creatures by sowing a poppy patch.

By having striking poppies in your new garden, not only will you impress your new neighbours with your attractive new display, but you’ll be providing a feeding ground for bees that’s sure to be popular with all wildlife around you.

The RSPB recommends sowing your seeds in either autumn or spring for the best results.

5. Create a hedgehog highway and connect with your neighbours

Autumn is a busy time of year for a lot of wildlife creatures as they prepare for the cooler months, and hedgehogs are no exception as they start planning for hibernation.

By creating a hedgehog highway and making a safe ‘corridor’ in your fence for the little critters to move through, it’s a great way to connect with your neighbours and give nature a home at the same time.

The hole in the fence will help to protect the hedgehogs, which walk up to a mile a night, from other animals and help them find the perfect spot to hibernate.

Are you going to try any of these ideas in your garden? Send us your pictures of your winter wildlife on our Facebook page!

Article source: http://www.northdevongazette.co.uk/news/top_tips_for_making_your_garden_wildlife_friendly_1_4753288

Currently in Mountain View, CA 60°F

It’s not too late to pick up a few pumpkins for use around the house. Jack-o-lantern varieties are large, bland and stringy, and are generally not eaten by humans. Pie pumpkins are smaller with a higher sugar content. Some are even seedless. More…

Article source: http://www.hometownfocus.us/news/2016-10-28/Home_%2528and%2529_Garden_Tips/

Pumpkin facts, gardening class and Ohio Design Centre event: Home and Garden News

PUMPKIN FACTS: From the corner supermarket to neighborhood porches, pumpkins are popping up everywhere. Some are small and cute, some have faces painted them and others are enormous.

Huge or small, yellow or white, smooth or bumpy, pumpkins are a welcome sign of the harvest season. This time of year, we love to decorate our lawns, decks and porches with pumpkins.

How much do you know about pumpkins? Below are five fascinating facts about our favorite fall vegetable. The information comes from the University of Illinois Extension, Bonnie Plants and All About Pumpkins websites.

1. According to legend, Columbus carried pumpkin seeds back with him to Europe, where the vegetable was used to feed pigs. The Pilgrims are said to have made beer fermented persimmons, hops, maple sugar and pumpkin.

2. Pumpkins produce male and female flowers. The first male flowers attract bees and alerts them to the location of the blooming vines, so that they’ll return to pollinate the female flowers. Female blossoms open for only one day, sometimes only for a few hours.

3. Want to grow an immense pumpkin? You’ll need to plant a jumbo variety. Allow a single fruit to develop and pick off all female flowers that develop after this fruit has set on the plant.

4. Pick pumpkins when they are mostly orange and the vine starts dying off. A ripe pumpkin has a hard shell. If you can easily indent the pumpkin skin using your fingernail, the fruit isn’t ready to harvest.

5. For an easy way to decorate outdoors with pumpkins, nestle them separately among the flowers and foliage in your garden. To make a pumpkin topiary, choose three pumpkins in graduated sizes and different shades, then stack them on top of an empty planter. Put moss between each tier, and wrap a grapevine wreath around the base.


 

GARDENING CLASS:  It’s impossible to completely keep wildlife out of our gardens and backyards, so it’s better to learn how to co-exist with animals. Learn how to invite wildlife into your backyard in the next installment of “Gardening Through the Year,” from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 3 at the F.A. Sieberling Visitors Center in the Summit County Metro Parks.

The visitors center is located at 1828 Smith Road, Akron. The class is free and no registration is required.

OHIO DESIGN CENTRE: More than 25 of Cleveland’s top interior designers will create themed dining and entertaining tablescapes in the Ohio Design Centre’s Entertaining by Design showcase. The public can see these tablescapes on Friday and Saturday, Nov. 4-5.

Themes from this year’s tablescapes include “Holiday at Higbees,” “Steam Punk Masquerade” and “British Invasion.” Hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and tickets are $10 at the door.

The Malachi House Patron Party is Friday Nov. 4 from 7 to 10:30 p.m., offering food, live entertainment and a first look at the tablescapes at the Ohio Design Centre. Tickets to the VIP celebration are $125 and available through Malachi House, which serves the terminally ill. All proceeds from the two-day Entertaining by Design support the Malachi House.  

The Ohio Design Centre is located at 23533 Mercantile Road, Beachwood.

 

Article source: http://www.cleveland.com/insideout/index.ssf/2016/10/pumpkin_facts_gardening_class.html

Deborah Trickett to present at Holliston Garden Club program …

HOLLISTON — Container garden designer Deborah Trickett, owner of The Captured Garden, will present at the Holliston Garden Club’s traditional holiday program at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4 at St. Mary’s Church Parish Hall, 8 Church St., Holliston. Hors d’oeuvres prepared by club members will precede the demonstration at 7 p.m.

The Massachusetts certified horticulturist and landscape professional creates unique containers by combining unusual plant material and creative design ideas. She has worked in the garden industry for over 30 years, starting with a greenhouse job at age 13. Trickett has spoken at the New England Spring Flower show and the Philadelphia International Flower Show, and teaches classes at the Arnold Arboretum in Boston. Her work has been featured in the Boston Globe, The American Gardener, Garden Gate and New England Home magazines as well as on the television show New England Dream Home.

Proceeds from the event will benefit the Holliston Garden Club’s civic projects, which include tree and flower plantings throughout the town, programs for children and seniors, and Arbor Day events. The club also provides scholarships and educational grants to benefit Holliston students. A raffle drawing of Trickett’s containers will follow the program.

Tickets for “Designing Container Gardens” cost $12 in advance; $15 at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased at the following Holliston locations: Coffee Haven, 76 Railroad St.; Arcadian Farm, 200 Norfolk St.; Outpost Farm, 216 Prentice St.; and Debra’s Flowers, 44 Central St.

Interested parties can also send a check with a self-addressed, stamped envelope to Holliston Garden Club, c/o L. Guertin, 485 Central St., Holliston, MA 01746.

For information, visit hollistongardenclub.org or call Susan Russo at 508-330-8688 or Lee Guertin at 508-429-5077.

Article source: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/20161027/deborah-trickett-to-present-at-holliston-garden-club-program

Front Yard Landscaping Ideas to Try Now Before It’s Too Late

Long before people set foot in your home, they see your front yard. And while you may take care to mow your grass and refrain from parking a rusty pickup truck in the middle, your front yard landscaping may not exactly wow visitors as much as it could.

If you’re trying to sell your home, you’ll want to bump up your curb appeal. But even if you have no plans to move, you can impress guests and passers-by. So what are you waiting for? Here are some front yard landscaping ideas to take care of now, before summer’s over.

Make a landscaping plan

Front yard landscaping is more than a patch of grass and a few plants. Landscaping also includes your driveway (have you considered a “green driveway” or one made of cobblestone or glass?), walkways, ornamental trees, flowers, perhaps a water feature.

You need a good plan to fit all these landscaping pieces together. That’s what professional landscape architects do for $75 to $150 an hour, but here’s a cheaper option: Many local garden centers provide landscaping consultations for free or for a small additional cost if you buy plants from them—not a bad deal.

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Pick the right plants

Landscaping starts with plants—shrubs, trees, grasses, and perennials which add color, height, texture, movement, and color to your front yard. But picking the right plants requires more than a design eye; you must choose plants that will thrive in your yard.

So the first step is conducting a soil test to understand the composition, pH, and nutrient quality of the dirt under your feet. For less than $25, you can send a soil sample to your state cooperative extension, which has labs that will tell you everything about the soil you have to guide which plants you chose. Azaleas, a popular foundation plant, do best in slightly acidic soil (pH 5.5), while lilacs love a more alkaline soil (pH 7.5). Cosmos thrive in sandy soil, whereas Russian sage grows well in clay soil.

Also consider your USDA Plant Hardiness Zone when selecting the plants and trees that will grow best in your particular climate.

“There are beautiful, new plants brought to market that may not be the best choice for your area,” says Chad Bostick, a Huntsville, AL, landscape architect and member of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Lilacs in a flower bed

Elenathewise/iStock

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Stagger heights and depths of greenery

Soldiers look great in straight lines; plants, not so much. Plant beds serve to ease the eye up from the horizontal plane of the yard into the vertical plane of the house. To soften the view, avoid straight rows of plants and vary their height and color.

“Plant taller species on the ends and shorter in the middle,” Bostick says. Boxwoods are great corner anchors, and ornamental grasses are graceful candidates for the middle.

Bostick also warns homeowners to consider maturity, not present height, when picking shrubs and trees.

“You don’t want to put in a shrub in front of a window that eventually grows to 7 feet tall,” he says.

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Mix evergreen with deciduous trees

Deciduous trees, which lose their leaves annually, provide great color in spring, summer, and fall, while evergreens prevent your entire yard from looking dead in winter. Evergreens placed on the side of your house where prevailing winds occur can also provide a windscreen that helps lower energy bills in cold weather.

Mix of evergreen and deciduous trees

Milkos/iStock

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Light it right

Landscape lighting makes your house a stunner in the night as well as day. Use a mix of lights that point up and lights that point down to add visual interest as well as texture and depth to the yard. Bostick likes to hide lights with softening filters in trees, which spreads a natural, moonlight glow on plants and the house.

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Water your plants the easy way

Protect your landscaping investment by springing for an in-ground irrigation system, which will water your turf, plants, and trees. A sprinkler system typically costs about $1,000. Or, better yet, instead of planting water-hungry lawns in your front yard, install plants that require little or no extra water, called xeriscaping. They can save you up to 36 cents per square foot annually in water bills and maintenance.

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Watch: The Features That Help a Home Sell Fastest

Article source: http://www.realtor.com/advice/front-yard-landscaping-ideas/

Europe takes the lead in building urban resilience

Credit: Shutterstock

An EU-funded project has been helping cities face the future with confidence by tackling climate change, putting the green back into cities, and preventing urban sprawl in new and exciting ways.


By the time TURAS, a five-year EU project aimed at making cities better, greener places to live, ended in September 2016, it had produced a wealth of results, some planned, whilst others were unplanned but pleasant surprises nonetheless.

Back in 2011 the project brought together 32 organisations from 13 countries – academic institutions, local authorities and SMEs – to address climate change and mitigation, explore how to build green infrastructure, and examine how cities grow. ‘The project sought to devise mechanisms and toolkits for changing behaviour to build resilience,’ says project co-ordinator Dr Marcus Collier. “Many solutions were devised and tested – all of which would make urban living more tolerable, equitable and sustainable.’

Flood management and green roof construction solutions

One such example is a system for managing floods designed by TURAS partners in the Netherlands. The resulting strategy has been mainstreamed in Rotterdam as a part of the planning and city management process. Local residents now not only have a stronger say in how to manage floods but public awareness of the issues and possible solutions has also increased. Project participants in Ljubljana, Slovenia, are now using the strategy to help design their own scheme.

The Ecomimicry toolkit is another key result from the project, a green infrastructure design toolkit intended for green roof construction and maintenance, but also useful for designing small, pocket parks and landscaping in new housing and industrial estates. It mimics the biodiversity which can be lost when brownfield sites are built upon. ‘Ecomimicry allows planners, designers and users to retain biodiversity within new developments,’ says Dr Collier.

TURAS has looked at ways of getting cities to grow in more balanced ways. In the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham, the team has worked with stakeholders to devise a public private partnership for managing urban green infrastructure such as rain gardens.

Surprising results

Other results were unexpected. This includes the decision to draw on the project’s many co-created and co-designed ideas to set up Osmos. Based at the University of Stuttgart, this spin-off company works to facilitate collaborative planning in contentious areas.

Another surprise was the success of the Green Living Room. This used plants and green wall gardening techniques to create a green comfort zone in a heavily built-up area of Ludwigsburg, Germany. It has now attracted orders from cities in Europe and China. Helix Pflanzen, the SME involved, has since doubled its size and scaled up its international programme. During 2016, a mobile version has toured European cities, giving people in Bonn, Brussels and London the chance to see what can look, feel and smell like.

The project’s overall aim of building urban resilience, defined by Dr Collier as ‘a repository of strength of knowledge that can be drawn upon in times of need’, is important. The resilience of individuals and communities comes to the fore when sudden, shocking events occur, such as when people work together to recover from an earthquake or a flood. ‘However, as we become more urbanised and our communities become ever more complex and perhaps distant, resilience may dissipate… in responding to newer, more complex challenges such as , we need to build new resilience – a capacity to tolerate, adapt and move on,’ Dr Collier explains.

Pioneering new methods

TURAS has used new methods as well as innovative results. Its twinning method, bringing together three kinds of organisation, has become a mainstream approach in Horizon 2020 proposals. Five years ago this was not the case. “There was no rulebook… so TURAS wrote it!” says Dr Collier.

The decision to involve SMEs was also ahead of its time. ‘We knew that whatever solutions were to emerge, there would be opportunities for exploitation and scaling up. SMEs are in the best position for this,’ says Dr Collier., ‘We hoped that our SMEs would build European expertise and bring it to a global scale, making Europe a leader in devising resilience solutions.’

Explore further:
Can we learn to live with flooding?

More information:
Project website: www.turas-cities.eu/

Article source: http://phys.org/news/2016-10-europe-urban-resilience.html