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Full Version: Greening the city -- a measurement for a mindful environment
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https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/...070317.php

RELEASE: Scientists at the University of Bradford have developed the world's first Tranquillity Rating Prediction Tool (TRAPT), a scientific process for measuring how relaxing urban environments and public spaces are.

In a new paper published in the Urban Forestry and Urban Greening journal, lead researcher Professor Greg Watts believes that the tool could help planners, architects and environmentalists to understand what the impact of 'greening' measures like introducing trees, hedges or additional vegetation could have on urban spaces. It is hoped that in time the tool could allow users to optimise green spaces as part of the property development process, all before a spade hits the ground or to rejuvenate run-down suburbs and town centres.

Studies have illustrated a clear link between tranquil environments and stress reduction, well-being and pain relief. While quiet, green spaces promote relaxation, litter, graffiti and road noise all have the potential to reduce it. Introducing vegetation into an environment to soften it - a process called 'greening' - is one way to improve tranquillity, but until now architects and planners have had to make assumptions as to the impact this will have.

"Currently, architects design urban environments to provide open spaces where people can relax. While it's guided by certain principles, it's not scientific. TRAPT provides a robust and tested measure of how relaxing an environment currently is, or could be once built," explains Professor Watts.

The TRAPT system uses three measures of an urban environment including soundscape, landscape and moderating factors - the amount of natural features like trees, shrubs, flowers or water in the eye-line for example. When processed, the environment is given a score between 0 and 10. As an example, an outstanding tranquil environment was Glen Etive in the Scottish Highlands that elicited a high average score of 9.1 though an urban park can exceed 7.

"TRAPT provides the user with a simple measure for understanding how tranquil and relaxing it can be. By varying different factors - the amount of greenery, or introducing noise attenuating barriers or quieter road surfaces for instance - planners can understand the impact of their decisions," Professor Watts adds.

Based at the Bradford Centre for Sustainable Environments, Professor Watts and his team have spent over 10 years testing and validating the system in both laboratory and field studies.

"We're confident that our testing has helped us to create a tool that provides a realistic and reliable measure of relaxation," claims Professor Watts.

Through the practical application of TRAPT, Professor Watts hopes that his research could help architects, planners, civic leaders and environmentalists to gain a greater understanding of the impact of decisions they take.

"TRAPT could be used to help architects design rewarding and relaxing urban environments. Planners can use it to assess how tranquil new developments would be, making changes to the plans if required." The tool could also be useful to environmentalists arguing against the removal of trees, shrubs or urban green spaces. Residents could argue for more trees, shrubs and flowers to improve the appearance of jaded town centres and suburban areas.

"These measures should also help to counter threats such as over development, tree removal or traffic densification that might threaten existing benefits," says Professor Watts.
I'm all for greening cities but a green environment without birds, beasts and insects is a still a sterile environment. There might be a trick involved (a good one) - put the trees there and birds turn up and start nesting - but they need food - usually insects. And insects need food. Animals might come uninvited. Foxes, rats, racoons, and other furry things. Maybe lizards and snakes. Make them all welcome instead of putting down poison and traps.
(Jul 6, 2017 11:10 PM)confused2 Wrote: [ -> ]I'm all for greening cities but a green environment without birds, beasts and insects is a still a sterile environment. There might be a trick involved (a good one) - put the trees there and birds turn up and start nesting - but they need food - usually insects. And insects need food. Animals might come uninvited. Foxes, rats, racoons, and other furry things. Maybe lizards and snakes. Make them all welcome instead of putting down poison and traps.


Just as long they eat the mosquitoes and ticks. Due to the racket they make, I can't imagine guineas being allowed for reducing the latter (not to mention the traffic soon running them over, anyway).
Bit of an aside here...
Are we designing cities for drivers? In a real city (pick London?) are most journeys made in private cars? And if they are is that either desirable or essential? Might light railways be cheaper/better/more fun?
(Jul 7, 2017 06:43 PM)confused2 Wrote: [ -> ]Bit of an aside here...
Are we designing cities for drivers? In a real city (pick London?) are most journeys made in private cars? And if they are is that either desirable or essential? Might light railways be cheaper/better/more fun?


Parking problems and congestion probably make public transport the less hectic option in London. Whereas the car or bus is king in LA, although rail transit networks have robustly returned since they went extinct by the 1960s.

Accommodating personal vehicles (and accordingly buses, too) seems to involve more destruction and scarring of the landscape; not to mention the ensuing traffic jams and bottleneck nightmares. But that said, traditional public transportation wouldn't work for all denizens of the most sprawling metropolitan / metroplex areas. Even if the services reached to the outer extremes and could magically narrow to specific residences, the business folk among those who could afford such homes would have to be ultra-green to demean their reputations, expose themselves to risks, and burn waiting time by riding on rail and rubber-tire coaches.

They Moved Mountains (And People) To Build L.A.’s Freeways
http://gizmodo.com/they-moved-mountains-...1544225573

Roadways To Hell: Most Gridlocked Cities
http://www.thedailybeast.com/americas-75-worst-commutes
I am of the opinion that the 'average motorist' behaves like, and should be treated as, vermin. Even if private cars were a possible solution to transport within cities I think it should be discarded as a consequence of the effect the cars have on the drivers and the effect their cars have on the city.
CC Wrote:Even if the services reached to the outer extremes and could magically narrow to specific residences, the business folk among those who could afford such homes would have to be ultra-green to demean their reputations, expose themselves to risks, and burn waiting time by riding on rail and rubber-tire coaches.
I am suggesting that the alternative to using the public transport provided by the city would be that you don't go to the city. An Uber rickshaw service would provide short distance transport in the city. Young people could pay for education (or crime) by providing a rickshaw service.

There are obvious places where people need to be in a particular place - hospitals spring to mind. Looking at banks as the most commercial examples of commerce - they probably do need a lot of people physically close to each other for security reasons. If the CEO doesn't want to walk to work then maybe some of the reasons for occupying the highest valued properties at the centre of cities would evaporate.

I have a small business (my wife and me). It was proposed that the area around my shop be 'pedestrianised' - so deliveries would be before 8am (say 5am to 8am) to avoid spoiling the nice pedestrian aspect of the area. We already work from 9am to 5.30pm - so who gets to be on the premises for an extra 4 hours to take in deliveries? There's a "Be careful what you wish for." element in this.