Professor Bradley Flamm, Center for Sustainable Communities embark on multi-municipal greenhouse gas study
The Center for Sustainable Communities will be taking a close look at ways municipalities and their residents can reduce greenhouse gases with support from a $79,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP).
“Working in partnership with Swarthmore College, we will be conducting a multi-municipal greenhouse gas inventory and strategy analysis. We’ll be conducting carbon footprint analysis and exploring what communities can do to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone, Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities. “There are various agencies that are looking at the bigger picture with regard to greenhouse gases, including the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission which just completed a major regional greenhouse gas emissions inventory. We are concentrating on studies of individual townships. In Pennsylvania, that’s where most decisions are being made that influence greenhouse gases.”
Community and Regional Planning Chair Studies "Active Living" with $200,000 grant
We do it without thinking.
Nearly everyone each morning gets into their cars and heads to work, then reverses the process when coming home. Dropping the children off at school, trips to shopping malls, visits to grocery stores, even a quiet excursion to a public park are all accomplished behind the wheel of an automobile.
Few communities are built around the idea of public transportation. Few people bike to their destinations and fewer still have the luxury of being able to walk to get to where they need to go. This dependency on means other than ourselves for transportation has led to a deep dip in physical activity, which in turn impacts every aspect of our lives — from healthcare to housing to gas prices.
Community and Regional Planning Chair Dr. Deborah Howe has embarked on research that hopes to change this trend. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation approved a $200,000 grant for research designed to “transform land use regulations to create livable communities that support physical activity in everyday life.” The grant is part of the Foundation’s “Active Living Research” program.
Center for Sustainable Communities completes Pennypack Creek Watershed Study
This week, hundreds of homeowners in the Pennypack Creek Watershed are waking up the realization that their homes are in danger of being flooded.
To help protect the safety of residents within the floodplain, the Center for Sustainable Communities at Temple University embarked on a 4-year study of the Pennypack Creek Watershed to develop the most accurate floodplain maps possible.
“There are hundreds of people in the Pennypack Creek Watershed living in high risk flood zones. Because of inaccurate or outdated FIRMs (Flood Insurance Rate Maps), one can only guess the actual number,” said Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone, director of the Center for Sustainable Communities (CSC). “Many municipalities are using 1920 to 1960 precipitation data to determine the likely impacts of a 100-year flood when they are 15 to 20 percent lower than today’s reality — seven inches in 24 hours compared to today’s nine inches. In the more dramatic events that have taken place in recent years, it drives the numbers up dramatically.”
The Pennypack Creek Watershed study was a four-year project designed to completely map and provide updates to the floodplains of the Watershed, suggest stormwater best management practices to avoid flooding in the future, provide recommendations for open space preservation, and analyze water quality in an 11-municipality region. The research team consisted of Temple University faculty members, experts, and students from disciplines including landscape architecture, horticulture, geology, geography, geographic information systems, urban and suburban studies, land use policy and planning, environmental justice and civil engineering.
Center for Sustainable Communities awarded $420,000 grant to study flooding in Fort Washington
The Center for Sustainable Communities at Temple University Ambler has been awarded a $420,000 grant from the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission to undertake a “Fort Washington Area Flooding and Transportation Improvement Study,” which will, in large part, be a direct continuation of the detailed research and planning undertaken by CRP students during the fall semester.
“The Fort Washington Office Park is a major employment center; however the success of this facility as an economic growth and development center is hindered by flooding and a poorly organized transportation system. While correcting severe flooding problems is paramount to the future success of the office park, this problem cannot be corrected by evaluating the office park alone,” said Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone, Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities and Chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning. “This project requires a stormwater analysis of the entire Sandy Run Creek watershed in order to identify potential upstream stormwater management opportunities to alleviate.”
Improving the office park’s current transportation system, Dr. Featherstone added, requires “an extensive evaluation of not only internal conditions and impacts on stormwater runoff volume, velocity and quality but also external conditions such as interconnectivity with local streets and highways, and accessibility by public transportation.”
Temple University Ambler examines open space options in Eastern Montgomery County
Open space preservation in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, has received strong support among county residents.
During the 2003 general election, more than 77 percent of county voters responded favorably to a referendum authorizing bond financing for open space initiatives as part of the Green Fields/Green Towns Program. Municipalities throughout the county are currently engaged in updating their open space plans to be eligible for their share of the $150 million bond issue.
Currently, the Center for Sustainable Communities at Temple University Ambler is turning its eye toward the Ambler Borough region.
“The Ambler sub-region is really a unique slice of the region as a whole in that it sits in between the major development centers of the eastern part of the county. It has been getting lots of attention these days — from controversial redevelopment proposals in Ambler, to various initiatives to improve business campuses, to flooding and traffic concerns,” said Dr. Jeffrey Featherstone, Director of the Center for Sustainable Communities and Chair of the Department of Community and Regional Planning at Temple University Ambler. “All of these issues directly impact open space preservation efforts. Municipalities must work together across municipal boundaries — especially in the Ambler sub-region — to make the county’s ambitious open space goals a reality.”
Consortium Study Points Pennsylvania Toward a Sustainable Future
Imagine a Pennsylvania with a vibrant economy, clear air, clean streams, and a healthy, growing population.
The Commonwealth has taken a significant step toward that bright future with a comprehensive study of environmental, economic, and social trends in the state conducted by the Pennsylvania Consortium for Interdisciplinary Environmental Policy (PCIEP) and funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). Pennsylvania is one of just a handful of states to have completed such a detailed study.
The PCIEP has released a draft report titled “State of the Commonwealth: Is Pennsylvania Moving Towards A Sustainable Future?” which was produced by Temple University Ambler, Duquesne University, and Juniata College, with the Center for Sustainable Communities at Temple University Ambler spearheading the research project.
“Prevention is easier than a cure. By looking at trends in isolation, as we’ve done in the past, we have had a tendency to react to a crisis rather than looking ahead to find ways to prevent a crisis,” said Dr. Kathi Beratan, coordinating researcher for the two-year project and a Research Fellow with the Center for Sustainable Communities. “The best phrase that I’ve heard to explain sustainability is ‘don’t cheat on your kids.’ Make decisions today that don’t close down options in the future.”