Kaid Benfield Archive


Transforming our cities, a Q&A with yours truly

Kaid Benfield

Posted June 1, 2009 at 1:29PM

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I was invited to participate in an interview just published online by NRDC's magazine, OnEarth.  The interview is called "Transforming Our Cities," and it plays off a feature in the magazine on landscape super-architect Diana Balmori.  a rooftop garden in NYC, by Diana Balmori (credit: Balmori Associates)I'll get to Balmori, some of whose work is shown with this post, in a sec.

Thanks to some much-appreciated questions from George Black, OnEarth's articles editor, I was able to ramble a bit about the surprising green-ness of New York City, along with some of my favorite smart growth exercises, including the Toronto regional growth plan, California's smart growth planning law, and the Atlanta Beltline, among others.  I hope you'll take a look and let me know what you think.

But enough about me.  The star of this show is Balmori, who sums up her design philosophy nicely:

"Everybody says they want green cities, but nobody knows what that means," says Balmori. garden design for a new city in South Korea (by: Balmori Associates)"It's not just a green roof. It's trying to put living elements in a city and to make the city part of the living equation of the earth, rather than considering it inert."

Writer Susan Dominus does a great job of bringing out Balmori's thoughts on nature and urbanism, which she believes can (and should) be integrated much more effectively.  She has worked on some terrific projects, including New York's High Line and major undertakings in Spain and Korea.  She has even got me thinking about agglomerated green roofs.  Read the feature to see what I mean, and you'll learn some other good stuff, too.