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landscape materialsUHI to pollution that settles in urban regions are not new to municipalities and landscape architects.  Conscious approaches to landscape materials that are not harmful to the environment remains a challenge as cities are redefining their spaces and developmental approaches.  Reducing hazards with alternative approaches offers unique and sustainable opportunities for city progressions. 

It has been found that UHI is formulated by the materials of buildings and pathways.  In a recent study (Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2015), it was noted that specific types of materials have a dramatic, environmental impact.  Reflective materials are known as the most hazardous.  This causes the heat to bounce off of buildings and is contained, making the heat dramatically increase.  Materials which use large amounts of chemical mixtures, such as polysand in pathway materials, create the same issue with sediment runoff and water erosion that damages cities. 

While there is a pointed issue with landscape materials in relation to the environment, the study also found that the solution is reliant on city analysis and planning.  The issue contrasted based on where the materials were used and what the relationship was to the climate.  The environment and geographical conditions responded less favorably in certain areas.  It was also found that the urban environment and other building characteristics, such as shape, size, etc, also changed the conditions of UHI and the impact of the environment. 

According to the research, there is not a one solution fits all formula for city planning and development.  Instead, it is essential to consider the geography, urban development and the relationship to landscape materials.  Understanding the negative impact of certain elements in the surrounding environment may also lead to positive effects for planning and development.  By starting with analytical methods to urbanization and landscape development, materials which are unified with environmental needs can be used. 

While there is not a one size fits all option for cities, there are also steps which can be taken which dramatically reduce UHI and pollution.  For instance, upgrading pathways to environmentally friendly materials that do not cause UHI and which don’t cause sediment runoff creates new formulas for urban development.  Looking at materials for buildings that are not reflective in nature may also assist with new properties being developed to stabilize cities and begin reducing the impact of environmental hazards. 

As urban planning and development continues, there is the need to have a conscious effort to the materials which are used.  Environmentally friendly approaches are defined with understanding the impact made with architectural ideals.  By using new options for development, there is the ability to begin reducing the environmental footprint and hazards in urban regions. 

urban planningThe traditional grid of a city center is formulated with the concept of development that is expansive as well as mechanical associations which are part of the growth of a region.  This initial approach to urban planning led to materials that were fast, simple and which were practical for the development of regions.  However, they also impacted the environment negatively.  As municipalities become more aware of the impact of urbanization, is also the need to transform into sustainability.  Eco-friendly solutions that are able to evolve with the understanding that practicality must match with environmental stability is leading to changeable processes with urban planning. 

According to the urban transition theory, the primary goal of city centers is to change the habitat of larger areas.  Transitioning to eco-friendly, smarter and sustainable approaches is the objective which every city must have, specifically because of climate change and the impact of the population in relation to the environment and the health of those in urban centers.  There are measurements which are identified that show three central areas which must be looked at in relation to healthier cities.  The first is identifying the geographic location of an area and how this is impacted by urbanization.  The second is the time in relation to the historical relationships and the expected future growth.  The third is the ideals of the socio – cultural impact in regards to how the population uses the city centers (Journal of Cleaner Production). 

From these measurements, there are certain transitions which can be made for healthier cities and societies from urban planning.  Transitions require looking at sustainable and practical methods to develop new approaches within society.  This re-measures the context of urbanization, specifically to provide new solutions that can be applied for those who are living in urban regions.  Sustainable landscaping materials as well as blueprints are now being added to create the necessary transitions of those within the given region. 

The concept of urbanization is to begin looking at concepts such as post – fossil carbon, specifically to reduce pollution and health issues.  Regenerative approaches in the materials for landscapes and other regions is also essential for those who are looking at the context of urban areas.  Social and cultural tendencies require a re-examination of living in urbanization, specifically with habitual relationships to the surrounding space and to create new approaches.  Educational ideologies relating to the health of sustainability in cities is a requirement of those in the region. 

Landscape materials that are eco-friendly and sustainable are a key factor for the transition of communities into a new era of urbanization.  Using alternatives for materials that are eco-friendly and which reduce pollution supports and aids the transitions which communities are required to make.  Understanding the importance of sustainable materials with urban planning is a key to development and refurbishing the landscapes, buildings and surroundings to alter the way in which cities develop. 

urban placemakingThe growth of the population and urbanization has led to new challenges for cityscapes.  Sustainability is central to the expected growth, specifically with 60% of the population expected to live in urban areas by 2050 with 3.9 billion people living in cities in 2014.  With the influx of the population is also the need to match habitats with sustainability and an infrastructure which supports the needs of the growing number of people which are rapidly moving to certain regions. 

Urban placemaking and city growth is recognized today as essential for the survival of many around the globe.  Gathering of resources is one component which many are inclined to move to cities for.  More important, over half of the GDP (gross domestic products) are produced in urban areas.  To have required money and resources, individuals and families are being pushed to urban areas.  This accounts for over 55% of the population in emerging markets and up to 85% of the population in higher income countries (Worldwatch Institute). 

As individuals move to cities, it creates more pressure and an impact on the urban areas.  There is an average of 60 – 80% energy consumption which takes place in condensed areas as well as 75% energy consumption which takes place.  As a combination of energy, water and waste climbs, municipalities are required to examine the infrastructure in relation to the environment.  The pressure is not only on the numbers in the population as well as the amount of consumption in urban areas.  It also is showing that the population is dependent on urban regions and will continue to climb in the next 2 – 3 decades, specifically in relation to resources and opportunities within city settings. 

The current status in cities is currently under the regime of industrialization as a city center.  Land use has specifically been built under this regime, following central areas for industrial work and economic growth, while other regions do not have the proper infrastructure for residential areas.  Urban density relates to higher forms of energy consumption as well as relationships to human needs and socio-economic factors (Worldwatch Institute).  

The alteration in urban areas requires new planning and infrastructure development for cities.  Urban placemaking is a central focus, specifically which relies on green and natural areas, better use of consumption and development which positively impacts the health and well – being of those in the communities.  Waste policies are a central component to assist with the growth of communities.  Green areas, such as parks and vertical green landscapes are also a central item to assist withe building sustainable cities.  Prominent materials, such as environmentally friendly landscape materials, are also a key to reduce risk of health while increasing the balance with the environment.  With landscape friendly materials, it is possible to reduce many of the declining impact regions of cities. 

Sustainable cities are a possibility for growing urbanization.  The requirement is to re-think the infrastructure and architecture.  Using placemaking techniques is a central component, focusing on greenery as well as environmentally friendly landscape materials.  It is also essential to look at placemaking in terms of residential areas and the relationship to certain regions and how residents are able to access resources.  Living within  certain proximity to greenery, having more access to pathways, medical supplies and upgrading the waste methodologies will assist in creating sustainability with urban placemaking.

landscape supplyFor the majority of the population, opportunities and resources are reliant on being in urban regions.  While the general population is continuing to accumulate in city regions and dense areas, it is leading to significant changes in relation to the environment.  Urbanization is causing alterations in condensed environments, leading to an imprint which municipalities now have to re-consider for new developments that does not create a negative footprint. 

It has been found that over 80% of the population lives in urban areas.  This is continuing to increase, leading to highly dense regions.  The amount of activity in consolidated areas also leads to higher amounts of pollution, waste and stress on the environment.  It is noted that UHI (urban heat island), water stress and air pollution are continuing to have negative results from the population growth.  The inability to control or reverse the environmental changes is also present, specifically because of older infrastructures that did not calculate the growing population and activity within a given spatial area. 

According to a recent study by the Journal of Biodiversity and Endangered Species, there are several areas of impact that need to be considered with growing urbanization.   As cities continue to develop, vegetation and greenery is lost.  This creates a significant imbalance within the climate, creating issues with soil degradation, air pollution that is not filtered and water erosion and damage.  The issue continues with buildings and paved areas that do not have shade and are unable to process water or moisture.  By not properly evaporating or processing water, it elevates surfaces and air temperatures.  Heat island effect is the result, specifically because of the incompatibility of natural elements and building materials. 

The issue with the landscape supply is known to build up both water and heat impact within regions.  As supplies are unable to evaporate or process water and heat, it continues to create a rise in pollution as well as heat.  It was noted by the study that for UHI, reflecting heat, thermal emissions and the ability to process heat from the sun are the central concepts which lead to environmentally polluted urban areas. 

The demand for urban areas is to begin to change how infrastructure development is approached.  According to the study, the knowledge about UHI, water damage and air pollution requires new planning techniques.  The urban environment is required to look at how the infrastructure is developed and what changes can be made to reduce the impact of pollution.  Using environmentally friendly landscape supply as well as approaches with greenery will immediately begin to reverse the negative environmental issues in relation to urbanization. 

While the infrastructure within city settings offers resources and opportunities for a growing population, it also hinders the environment.  Rebalancing certain spatial regions with landscape supply, greenery and new approaches to the urban infrastructure will alter the impact of UHI and environmental damage. 

urban planningUrban planners use analysis of urban areas to show them where they need to alter their guidelines. They know that defining these guidelines  is essential to reduce the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect.

Increased temperatures in urban area is a growing problem. There are a few factors which contribute to UHI. The first is that buldings, pathways and hardscapes retain heat. Using chemically based materials, as opposed to environmentally friendly materials, causes this effect to become more pronounced over time. Also, air pollution and energy consumption are also directly related to increased UHI. The strategies that they develop need to take this into account.

UHI Study Results

Landscape and Urban Planning recently published highlights of a astudy conducted in Columbus, OH relating to spatial models (see full article here). Their research looked at the determinants of UHI, specifically how spatial relationships are effected by pollution levels. The study looked at one region withinin Columbus. They looked at how they could to reduce the UHI effect using new urban design and land-use guidelines.

UHIThere were several factors that planners needed to considered. How much solar radiation the area receives, and how much open space and vegetation are present are important. They also considered how rooftop spaces and the presence water affect air temperatures. Parking structures and vacant lots retain heat, as do higher pollution levels and a lack of vegetation in the area. This results in a higher UHI which has a negative effect on the environment. 

Design and land-use policies are at the heart of green planning. UHI can be reduced by increasing requirements for open spaces and greenery. Vegetation in open spaces, green rooftops and a balance with landscape greenery in urban areas immediately begin to reduce UHI.  Using materiels in open ares that absorb water naturally also provide a better balance. Water permeable materials composed of naturally occurring materials in landscape pathways is important. This can dramatically reduce UHI. Urban planners need to consider this when developing a green strategy.

In Conclusion…

We need to look at the effect our urban areas are having on the environment. Developing green strategies to reduce the UHI effect is imperative. By altering our actions, we can balance out the effects of increasing levels of urban growth on the environment.

erosion controlThe impact of stormwater in urban areas deteriorates the external landscape and infrastructure.  Understanding the characteristics of stormwater as well as how it can be controlled and treated also assists with better urban results. There are methods that can be used to reduce the impact of stormwater, specifically because of patterns and characteristics of the water.  This offers erosion control and stops deterioration of landscapes.

The recent study from the Water Environment Research reviewed hundreds of articles to look at the characteristics of stormwater.  The quality and quantity of stormwater are the most prevalent changes which occur.  These characteristics impact the amount of deterioration which takes place and creates the water erosion with landscapes.  By looking at the amount of stormwater impacting hardscapes as well as the texture and quality of the water, erosion control becomes easier to manage. 

Engineering techniques are able to counteract the stormwater that is impacting hardscapes.  Erosion and sediment control can be defined by measuring the impact of the water.  Construction and engineering practices are first based on the infrastructure of the region.  Adding in wetlands and ponds assists with treatment of hardscapes.  This is able to navigate the stormwater while reducing the amount of erosion with urban development. 

It is also found that there are modelling structures with materials used.  Permeable pavement is one of the alternatives used to assist with the navigation of stormwater.  This solution absorbs stormwater naturally while maintaining balance with the soil and in different regions.  By doing this, it assists with erosion control of urban development areas.  The permeable pavement is paralleled with solutions such as harvesting systems and green roofs, all which assist with the maintenance of stormwater with natural balance with environment and urbanization. 

Through the various treatments and infrastructure changes, stormwater is able to naturally assist with erosion control.  It was found that combining these with pollution treatments and control structures is able to enhance the urban infrastructure. By adding in spatial controls in combination with the engineering methods, it provides erosion control and durable urban areas.

urban pathwayThe dimensions of urban planning for development and expansion require looking at how hardscapes impact spatial areas as well as the population.  Concepts of urban planning are related to environmental health as well as public health.  When looking at an urban pathway, approaches to environmental and public well – being are essential to sustainability.

The first requirement for better urban planning is to look at minimizing threats to the environment and human life.  The target is to reduce pollutants and sediments that are harmful to the environment and the community.  Air and water sediments are considered the most harmful within urban areas, specifically because they carry pollution and often build hazardous areas. 

Preservation is another target for an urban pathway and buildings within cityscapes.  The two focuses of preservation are to reduce water erosion and runoff that occurs as well as reducing the greenhouse gases that often build in urban areas.  It is also noted that this focus is designed to maintain and preserve habitats that naturally reside within urban areas for those in a given location. 

Researchers (Contemporary Urban Planning, John Levy, 2015), have noted that there are some barriers to environmental planning.  This begins with the lack of understanding of pollution and the tracks that are taken of the pollution.  For instance, sediment runoff often compiles in certain areas.  Water erosion, when not handled through natural soil processes, begins to accumulate damage through an urban pathway and other regions, building damage over time. 

Changing choices with environmental planning for an urban pathway and spatial areas also alters the development and sustainability of communities.  For landscape architects, it is necessary to look at how pollution are impacting both the environment and the health of the community.  There are various environmentally friendly materials and architecture which changes the planning and development of various regions while creating balanced cityscapes. 

LEED ComplianceLEED, also known as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is designed to support green building internationally.  The organization provides certifications for construction projects and buildings based on the environmental capacity it has.  The mission of LEED is to provide global sustainability by recognizing those who put the planet before profit.
To receive LEED compliance or certification, building types are reviewed by those who have a technical understanding of the green building.  This is a part of a partnership with the US Green Building Council Board, or USGBC.  To become certified, one is required to look through a series of prerequisites.  This determines credits based on excellence of quality as well as the environmental standards which are associated with the building. 
LEED Certifications are available in 4 levels, including basic certification silver, gold or platinum.  The measurements are based on the various solutions which one has as well as the innovation and technologies which are used to assist with environmental support.  The qualities are reviewed by the public as well as through board members and staff of USGBC, all which is integrated to rate the points available. 
According to recent estimates, there are over 90,000 projects that use LEED standards as well as over 160 countries that participate in the certification process with current estimates of 2.2 million square feet of space using environmentally friendly materials.  It is also estimated that the projects have currently diverted over 90 million tons of waste while gold standard buildings have reduced energy and gas emissions by up to 34%. 
The focus of LEED is to work with the performance of buildings related to the environment while creating green buildings as a standard.  The certifications require sustainability, value as real estate and durability among the projects.  According to the Green Building Economic Impact Study (USGBC, 2015), the approach of LEED will offer over 1 million jobs in green construction with an estimated $190 billion in earnings.

Organic-Lock being LEED compliant is based on the efficiency of materials used for building.  The measurements taken are focused on how the materials are used as well as the impact that it leaves on the environment.  By working with balance between environment and urban development, it offers sustainable practices and green building.  It is also measured by the impact on human health, noting reduced issues with sediment and pollution issues because of the material used.  With these qualities, Organic-Lock and the approach with LEED Compliance is able to contribute to creating a strong, green infrastructure.  


green placesAs environmental and climate changes face cities, are also solutions which are required to alter the outcome of increasing heat and rising pollution levels.  The central element that many are finding as a primary concern is to focus on creating a green infrastructure.  Cityscapes which expand the blueprint of development to transform to green places also have the capacity of reducing the impact of environmental hazards. 

Urban development is known to impact the environment, specifically because of the materials and layout used within dense regions.  As building materials and hardscapes, which are not environmentally friendly, take over certain areas, the environment also tilts with more hazards in the region.  UHI, or urban heating island is one of the greatest dangers. Rising temperatures from heat which is absorbed by buildings and pathways remains problematic.  Sediment runoff and higher pollution levels compliment this issue, specifically with the inability to maintain the growing numbers of people and the urban building taking place. 

The concept of a green infrastructure is able to combat against these underlying problems.  According to a recent study (Landscape and Urban Planning 2015), a green infrastructure is at the heart of changing the deterioration of urban areas.  There are four central areas which are noted to reduce pollution, increase biodiversity habitats and lower the UHI effect within cities.  By developing green places, landscape architects and cities have the capacity of creating greater balance within the environment while maintaining the urban development taking place. 

  • Green Open Spaces.  Adding parks, natural habitats and areas with surrounding greenery, there is the ability to reduce pollution.  This assists with balancing the environment and also naturally absorbs and reduces hazards within the environment.  Shade trees, designated green regions and public parks are all able to reduce heat and naturally absorb and balance the city with green places.


  • Green Roofs.  Many cities are beginning to notice the difference by adding greenery to roofs and walls.  UHI and harm from pollution is often from the absorption of heat in the materials of buildings.  Adding this element provides a notable way to begin reducing the impact of the hazardous zones, offering greater balance with air pollution as well as UHI while creating green places.


  • Greening Systems.  Cities and landscape architects can consider both vertical and horizontal greening systems to create green places.  Green walls, facades and other elements can be added to building, specifically to balance and protect against sediments and UHI.  It is also possible to add environmentally friendly materials to pathways and roadways, specifically to naturally apply balance to materials.  These systems are designed to absorb heat naturally while working with the surrounding elements to balance the weathering taking effect.

The concept of green infrastructure is one which can greatly reduce the harm within urban areas currently taking place, specifically in relation to UHI and the accumulation of pollution.  Bringing balance through greenery, systematic changes and additional environmental items, urban areas are able to continue developing areas while creating balance within the ecosystem with upgraded green places. 

Landscaping Products SupplierAs a landscape architect, you will need to source materials which will create a beautiful, durable outcome that is easy to maintain. In addition to building your portfolio, this also provides a sense of satisfaction for a job well done. Finding the right landscaping products supplier is crucial. 

You don’t only want to consider the location of your landscaping products supplier. You also need to ensure that the materials they carry will meet your needs. In addition to finding products that are compatible with your design aesthetics, you should choose environmentally friendly products to include in your project design. These products can make a significant difference to the outcome of a project, including its durability. 

Product Requirements

Your customers will often be looking for specific results with regards to the quality and sustainability of your design. Safety and accessibility issues also influence their project requirements when public spaces are involved. Smooth, stable surfaces on public areas and pathways are of prime importance. 

Finding a landscaping products supplier that carries products with long-term durability and sustainability is also important. Environmentally friendly pathway materials that resist water erosion are easy to maintain and remain durable for many years to come.

While some materials may be easier to install, they may begin to deteriorate quickly. Pathway materials which incorporate a high-quality stabilizing binder such as Organic-Lock will provide the kind of durability that you are looking for. Our binder is water-permeable, reducing runoff volume after a heavy rainfall. 

As you are planning your next hardscape project, you will want to consider the importance of choosing the right products for the job. Contact a landscaping products supplier near you to determine if they carry the right products for your needs. Locate products that will be durable, easy to work with, environmentally friendly and sustainable.