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'Greater Somerville' Talks De-Paving the City, Urban Gardening

Lenni Armstrong, a scientist, activist, and de-paving Organizer, and Dan Delongchamp, a landscape architect, talk about ridding Somerville of its excessive concrete and pavement.

On Tuesday's "Greater Somerville" on SCATV, host KyAnn Anderson talks with Lenni Armstrong and Dan Delongchamp about making Somerville a greener place, including efforts to "de-pave" the city.

According to Anderson and the guests, 77 percent of Somerville is covered with impervious surfaces, and Armstrong spoke about "improving the Somerville ecosystem one yard at a time" by getting rid of concrete and pavement.

Here's the episode description sent by "Greater Somerville:

"Join host KyAnn Anderson as she speaks with TEDx Somerville's Lenni Armstrong, a scientist, activist, and de-paving organizer, and Dan Delongchamp, a landscape architect, about the Somerville Climate Action's initiative to rid Somerville of its excessive concrete and pavement, in lieu of more permeable materials and green space. On tonight's episode we'll take an in-depth look into the depaving process, what landscaping options are available for your newly found urban garden, and the direct benefits that the removal of simply one concrete driveway can have on Somerville's ecosystem. As you begin to think green this spring, we know this episode is one you won't want to miss."

You can watch the episode above or at "Greater Somerville's" website.

Mia April 10, 2013 at 03:30 PM
Here's an idea. How about the Planning Board and the ZBA stops giving out exemptions on setback and green space. Has anyone else noticed how many new developments have no visible set back or green space?
Dan Delongchamp April 10, 2013 at 09:10 PM
Hi Mia, That is an interesting observation about the setbacks and green space requirements in the existing zoning code. I found that when I looked at the code,there were many different percentages depending on the District (ex. Assembly Sq) and the use type. Nevertheless it is a confusing code and it seems it is being overhauled through the comprehensive zoning code overhaul called Somervision. Also, there have been a few meetings recently on developing guidelines for public streets called SomerVision and residents are encouraged to put forth ideas. I believe the next public meeting is at the Argenziano School on April 22nd 6pm. Would a be a good chance for you to get in touch with planners and ask about those variances.
Courtney O'Keefe April 11, 2013 at 01:37 PM
Hi Dan and Mia, There is also a Zoning Advisory Committee that was convened to look at the code and see where it can be untied, improved and better organized. Still, it would be great to attend the 4/22/2013 meeting and have your voice heard.
AHM April 11, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Sometimes it does not matter. One can do what they like. One landlord off Highland Street appplied for a permit to blacktop his yard for more parking and was denied. He blacktopped it right after being denied and it's been that way since. He owned several properties here in Somerville and pretty much just did what he wanted. This is a city and cement and blacktop are just part of the nature of the beast. The only way my cement and blacktop will go is whoever buys the house from me when I sell. Otherwise it will stay as is.

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