Rx for Hot Cities: Urban Greening and Cooling to Reduce Heat-Related Mortality

Extreme heat and its health impacts are on the rise. Annually, extreme heat already causes more deaths in the United States than all other weather-related causes combined, with effects most pronounced in urban areas. Reducing urban heat exposure is an equity issue. In this webinar (July 8, 2020, 1-2:15 p.m. EDT), speakers will introduce the efforts of the Los Angeles Urban Cooling Collaborative (LAUCC) – a multi-disciplinary, national partnership of researchers and practitioners working to understand and implement urban cooling strategies and the heat-health impacts on the human body. Follow this link to connect to the webinar.

Sourced from the U.S. Forest Service

Growing Atlanta Suburb Reclaiming an Unexpected Public Space

If city-dwellers wanted to visit a green space in the 19th century, they likely found themselves at a cemetery. During much of that time, cemeteries played the role that city parks often do today, acting as a spot for people to gather. But increasingly over the past decade, communities have once again embraced hanging out in cemeteries. “Kennesaw was looking for ways to instead of fencing off to make it more accessible to their citizens,” says Holly Vine, executive assistant at the Atlanta Regional Commission planning agency. The city worked with ARC to gauge resident opinion and make the publicly owned Kennesaw City Cemetery into a green space for its burgeoning downtown. The cemetery, whose earliest known burial dates to 1863, has some prominent residents who contributed to Kennesaw’s founding. Follow this link to read more.

Sourced from: Next City

Public Space a “Lifeline” for Post-Lockdown Cities

Public and outdoor space has been at a premium during the coronavirus pandemic: bike sales have leapt, park use is way up, and even pavement chalk drawing appears to be having a moment. Now as many cities start to reopen, some are looking at their sidewalks, squares, parking lots, and even streets as a hidden asset in boosting their economies. “The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed our relationship with our streets, open public spaces, and public facilities,” said Laura Petrella, chief of planning, finance, and economy at UN-Habitat. “Public space has emerged as a critical lifeline for cities and their residents,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Thomas Reuters Foundation News

Gardening in the Age of COVID

Franklin County Master Gardners In Columbus, Franklin County Master Gardener Volunteers are addressing food insecurity in neighborhoods throughout the city which are considered food deserts. Franklin MGVs have received exemptions to re-start four food production projects throughout the city and at Waterman Farm on The Ohio State University campus to address the increased level of food insecurity brought on by the pandemic. Franklin MGVs maintain 72 ongoing projects throughout the community. During the 2019 growing season they produced and donated 21,425 pounds of vegetables, fruit, and herbs to dozens of neighborhood food pantries in Columbus. Franklin County MGVs help maintain community gardens, urban farms, and two public fruit parks throughout the city. During 2019, 235 MGVs in Franklin County donated 16,811 volunteer hours in the community. Follow this link to learn more.

Article courtesy of Mike Hogan,  Agricultural and Natural Resources Educator, Franklin County, Ohio.

Global Urban Lectures Launches its Sixth Season

UN-Habitat’s most popular video series, the Global Urban Lectures, launches its sixth season on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. With over 170,000 views from 65 countries to date, the series of 15-minute video lectures features renowned experts discussing cutting-edge research and practical recommendations on advancing urban sustainability and the Sustainable Development Goals in cities. The sixth series features 10 lectures providing quick and efficient online learning tools for local government officials, students, academics, and other urban professionals at a time when meetings and lectures are cancelled.

Dr. Sahar Attia, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Cairo University and chair of UN-Habitat’s university partnership, UN-Habitat UNI, emphasizes the importance of digital learning on urban issues today: “With digital education becoming the new normal, the Global Urban Lectures offer innovative and practical distance learning not only for students, scholars, and researchers but also to a wider range of audiences interested in the challenges of cities today.” Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: UN-Habitat

Integrating a Food Systems Lens into Discussion of Urban Resilience

The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development recently published the article “Integrating a food systems lens into discussions of urban resilience: Analyzing the policy environment.” The article weaves the complexity of urban issues on sustainability and resilience with a food systems thread. One quote from the article says, “Food systems thinking holds tremendous integrative potential to address myriad, complex, and thorny issues at once, and can no longer be relegated to an afterthought.”

Sourced from: The Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems and Community Development

Change and Healing Through Understanding – ECOP is Responding

One effort for the Cooperative Extension System to respond to the need for dialogue to promote racial understanding and healing is Coming Together for Racial Understanding (CTRU). Seeded by ECOP in 2016, CTRU began following a similar season of anguish in our country. CTRU’s vision is to grow a community of Extension professionals ready to aid in fostering meaningful community conversations leading to positive change. Many of the trained teams across 26 states continue to work fervently, aiding both CES professionals and communities toward this vision. As work continues, three principles are clear:

  1. Dialogues are vital to understanding, and understanding is vital to healing and meaningful change.
  2. CES must do our own work around race before we can effectively engage communities.
  3. Administrative support to these teams is vital to their success.

Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: ECOP Monday Minute

Using Waste to Grow Wonders

What goes down the drains can be used to make things grow. Sewage sludge – carefully treated to make it safe – is used often in agriculture. Now, researchers are testing these materials, called biosolids, for use in urban settings. In a new study, researchers combined high-quality biosolids with other urban waste – food and yard waste, sawdust, and nut shells for example. They found several such mixtures to be acceptable in terms of smell and looks, and the mixtures also supported plant growth. Using biosolids and urban waste to make topsoil or engineer additions that increase soil fertility has several benefits. “Soil additions must have nutrients, and ideally organic matter, to support plant growth,” says Ryan Batjiaka, a researcher at the University of Washington. “We are currently very dependent on finite resources to supply these nutrients.” Follow this link to learn more.

Sourced from: Morning Ag Clips