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Downtown Green Alex Moss, Matt Drozd, Duncan Eisen-Slade, Alisha Salmonsen Environmental Science Project

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Table of Contents

Position…………………………………………………………….3 History……………………………………………………………..4 Causes of the Problem……………………………………………..5 Consequences of the Problem……………………………………..5 Proposed solution…………………………………………………. 6 Position of those who oppose ……………………………………..7 Works Cited ………………………………………………………8-9

Running Head: Downtown Green 3 Position The problem is that big cities have too much pollution and too much concrete. This causes poor air quality, runoff water, and the heat island effect. This problem can be fixed by adding more vegetation throughout the city. With a lack of ground space, rooftops are the ideal place for gardens in cities. Charleston being a very cultural city could benefit greatly from this unique concept. Also, rooftop gardens will cause tourism to rise in throughout the city.

Running Head: Downtown Green 4 History The history of rooftop and urban gardening can date back to the ancient Mesopotamian society. Massive stone structures called ziggurats used rooftop gardens as a system of cooling. In Babylon similar gardens were designed except instead of being hand watered these gardens used a complex irrigation systems, which was revolutionary for the time period. Palazzo Piccolomini in Pienza, Italy was a gorgeous palace that helped add a Renaissance feel to a rather dry town. This beautiful rooftop overlooks the gorgeous mountain view and greatly increased the number of tourists. In the late 1800’s New York investors believed rooftop gardens would be the future of summer time entertainment. The first building that put this into place was the Casino Theatre at 39th and Broadway. This theatre quickly become the most popular in New York causing many other theatres to follow, such as Madison Square Garden and Winter Gardens. Throughout the years the world has pushed to go “green”. In the process of going green many urban gardens were created around the world. These parties have come across the conclusion that the excess amount of concrete and lack of vegetation has caused too much pollution in the air. In 1997 the United Nations passed a treaty named the Kyoto Protocol. This was an agreement to reduce the carbon emissions. Along with the reduction of carbon being emitted, urban gardens being more prominent in large cities.

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Causes Large cities often do not leave space for gardens and parks. Also with a lot of vehicles polluting in the air, and a lack of plants purifying the air, pollution is increasing. Charleston, although better than some cities, still has a lack of plant life. Consequences A lack of vegetation can cause a heat island in cities, an increase in pollution, and water runoff. Air pollution can cause asthma and lung cancer. Charleston commonly has flooding when it rains. Plants can help to cool buildings and the surrounding temperature. If we let this continue, things will only get worse. Air pollution will rise, decreasing the health of the population. The excessive heat may cause heat related health problems such as heat stroke. If Charleston were to become less appealing due to pollution and heat, the economy could be ruined causing havoc in the community. Flooding will continue to be a problem if we do not find a solution, and will worsen as sea levels rise. Charleston’s air quality is currently around average for the country, but if we do not act now, it will only get worse. While the consequences may not be evident yet, they will become more so as our climate changes.

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Solution In many urban areas, there is a large majority of space taken up by buildings and roads. There is often very little vegetation in cities. This can cause many problems for people and wildlife. Wildlife loses habitat and is often forced into conflict with humans as cities grow. By planting native plants, we can provide native animals with habitat in the city. This will help allow wildlife and humans to co-exist. Cities often have problems with air pollution which can cause physical problems such as asthma for humans. Plants help to filter the air of toxic gasses, so by adding them to a city environment, they can help to decrease harmful pollution. One problem specific to Charleston is that concrete and cement do not quickly absorb water and flooding is often a problem. Plants can absorb much of the rainfall helping to prevent flooding and making Charleston an easier place to live. This is just a few examples of the problems caused by a lack of plant life in cities. We propose to help reduce these issues by rooftop and urban gardens. These could be vegetable gardens or native plants. It would provide jobs, clean air, and a unique touch to Charleston. It would provide relaxing spaces for people to relax and get away from the business of city life without going too far. It would also set an example for other cities and make it a leader in the movement.

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Position of Opposition People who oppose this concept say that it is too expensive- that there are other things that money should be spent on. They bring up issues of maintenance and construction. They also argue that there is no space for it. Adding greenery to cities can actually bring in revenue. It would help improve Charleston’s tourism industry even more. The building of and maintenance of the gardens would provide jobs for landscape companies and workers, engineers, landscape architects, and construction workers. It could also help to create a culture of environmental awareness in the city. A cleaner environment can help promote health which helps make people more attentive, do better in school, and be on average less depressed. Urban gardening can be used in a multitude of ways to improve communities. They can be used to beatify, provide jobs, or feed the poor. Despite some challenges, urban gardens can give back to the community more than they take.

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Works Cited "CARE Program." www.charlestonounty.org. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Jan. 2014. Despommier, Dickson. The Vertical Farm: Feeding the World in the 21st Century. New York: Thomas Dunne /St. Martin's, 2010. Print. Dupler, Douglas. "Urban Ecology." Environmental Encyclopedia. 4th ed. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale, 2011. 1686-1688.Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 Jan. 2014. Elton, Sarah. "The farm on top of the city: a new crop of urban farming businesses aims to feed locavores, save the planet--and turn a decent profit." Maclean's 22 Oct. 2012: 84+. Gale Biography In Context. Web. 4 Jan. 2014. "Forestry, urban." McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology. 10th ed. Vol. 7. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. 447-449. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 4 Jan. 2014. Howard, Brian C. "Urban Farming Is Growing a Green Future." National Geographic. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Jan. 2014. McArdle, Kristin. "Urban Agriculture: Fad or Neccesity." Huffington Post. N.p., 14 Nov. 2013. Web. 4 Jan. 2014. "MUSC Urban Farm." Musc,edu. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Dec. 2013. "Roof Gardens." www.portlandoregon.gov. Environmental Services City of Portland, n.d. Web. 1 Jan. 2014. Silverman, Jacob. "Will There Be Farms in New York City's Skyscrapers?" HowStuffWorks. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Dec. 2013.

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South Carolina Native Plant Society. N.p., n.d. Web. Dec. 2013. "The Green Roof Garden." Chicago Botanic Garden. N.p., n.d. Web. 05 Jan. 2014. "What Is a Community Garden?" American Community Gardening Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Dec. 2013. "Why Is Urban Agriculture Important?" Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Jan. 2014.