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Continued growth in the arid southwestern United States is placing greater demand on available water resources. Much of this growth is in sprawling metropolises where water is used outdoors to support urban landscapes ( Devitt et al., 2008 ; Litvak

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Oakland, California has been persuing an aggresive urban tree planting program since 1978. I have spent a year studying this program from the sociological perspective and believe that insights gained may be helpful to similar programs elsewhere.

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Rutgers Urban Gardening (RUG) has established a physical, psychological, and emotional environment that fosters and sustains diversity. RUG enhances cultural diversity by employing an ethnic minority work force of six, reaching diverse audiences representing more than 30 ethnic groups, and offering a wide variety of educational programs. Urban gardening gives people an opportunity to meet others, share concerns, and solve problems together. It cuts across social, economic, cultural, and racial barriers, bringing together people of all ages and ethnic backgrounds.

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When comparing states with population percentages residing in major cities, Nevada is considered the third most urban state in the nation. It also has the distinction of being the driest, with less than 4 inches of precipitation annually in the Las Vegas Valley. Nevada is using 280,000 acre-feet of water from its 300,000 acre-feet allotment from the Colorado River annually. Approximately 60% of this is used for urban landscaping. With average water use at >300 gallons per person per day in the past, Las Vegans have been criticized as “water-wasters.” Rising water prices and an active research and extension education program begun in 1985 and supported by the local water utility has helped to contribute to changing water use patterns and a reduction in water use. Research, educational programs for commercial landscapers, and home horticulture programs conducted through Master Gardeners have helped to reduce water use in the Las Vegas Valley while providing information on sound horticultural practices.

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Abstract

Throughout the world the nature of man has been to cluster in highly urbanized centers. The U.S. is no exception, with more than 203 million people living on less than 1% of the land mass. During the past decade this concentration of people in or near urban growth centers has continued while an increasing percentage of land area in many states has reverted to forest cover.

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Private gardens occupy a significant proportion of the total surface area of a British city. For many people, the garden represents their only contact with nature and their chance to express themselves creatively. Yet relatively little research has been carried out on the role and value of such gardens to human well-being. We report in this paper on a major survey on the role of private, urban gardens in human well-being, conducted with a wide cross-section of randomly selected garden owners from the city of Sheffield, England, over the summer of 1995. In particular, we discuss the perceived value that gardens have to the well-being of people, both individually through the enjoyment of their own gardens and collectively through the contribution of city gardens to environmental enhancement. We relate these values to age, gender and social demographics.

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The popularity of ornamental grasses for use in urban landscapes, parks, median strips, parking lot borders, and for erosion control on slopes has increased in recent years ( Loram et al., 2008 ; Wilson and Knox, 2006 ). This increase is partially

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The risk: reward for a transition to organic vegetable farming near urban areas and changes in soil, crop, and economic parameters during transition are poorly understood. A 4-year study was initiated in 2003 at the Ohio State Univ.–OARDC to document the relative advantages of four transition strategies and their effects on major cropping system variables. Soil previously in a vegetable-agronomic crop rotation has been maintained fallow, planted to a mixed-species hay, used in open field vegetable production, or used in vegetable production under high tunnels, transition strategies with a range of management intensity and expected financial return. Each strategy was replicated four times within the overall experimental area. Half of the soil in each strategy unit was amended with composted dairy manure while the remaining soil was unamended. Field vegetable plots have been planted to potato, butternut squash, and green bean. High tunnels have been planted to potato, zucchini, and a fall–spring rotation of beet, swiss chard, mixed lettuce, radish, and spinach. Data describing the outcomes of the strategies in terms of farm economics, crop yield and quality, weed ecology, plant pest and disease levels, and soil characteristics (physical, chemical, biological) have been recorded. Inputs in the high tunnels have exceeded inputs in all other strategies; however, high tunnel production has widened planting and harvesting windows and increased potato yield, relative to open field production. To date, compost application has increased crop yield 30% to 230% and influenced crop quality, based on analytical and human panelist measures. Weed (emerged seedlings, seedbank) and nematode populations also continue to vary among the transition strategies.

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Abstract

Plants have a great impact upon the urban microclimate in contrast to dry structural materials. Infrared surface temp can be substantially modified by evaporative cooling and the interception of radiant energy by plants to reduce the heat island characteristic of the summer urban microclimate.

High temp characteristic of surfaces such as artificial turf can be reduced by irrigation. Outdoor athletic areas covered with artificial turf should be either irrigated to permit evaporative cooling or shaded to intercept solar radiant energy.

Coniferous trees appear capable of providing a small amount of attenuation for environmental noises that are either predominantly low or high frequency in composition. However, dense wide plantings are necessary to achieve effective environmental noise attenuation from vegetation alone in urban areas and the practical value of plants as an urban “sound barrier” appears questionable.

Open Access

Agricultural development in Kuwait faces many problems and obstacles, such as limitation of water resources for irrigation, soils conditions, climatic extreme (particularly during the summer periods), and trained labor. With these extreme conditions for agricultural development in Kuwait, there is a strong demand from the public and the government for agricultural activities, particularly in urban landscape and greenery. World travel has enhanced the public's desire for the beautification of the urban areas and has emphasized the importance of the urban landscape. Planning urban landscape and greenery for Kuwait depends on various variables and efficient management of limited resources. Irrigation water is limited in Kuwait, and the quality of water is deteriorating from over-pumping of underground water and increased soil salinity by over irrigation and lack of drainage. Efficient irrigation-water management can be improved in Kuwait with enhanced irrigation research and implementation of the recommendations of this research. Research topics can also include water evaporation, which is high in Kuwait, and the introduction of mulching materials to improve water irrigation efficiency. Most of the soils in Kuwait are sandy with limited organic materials and plant nutrients. Research in soil fertility and plant uptake of nutrients is essential for any agricultural activities. Introducing ornamental plants tolerant to drought, salinity, and heat is a continuous research component of urban landscape and greenery in Kuwait. Training local staff in basic agricultural activities and research development should improve resource management and enhance the greenery of Kuwait.

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