At first glance, Cahuenga Peak, the backdrop to the Hollywood sign, might seem more like a supporting actor than a bona fide star. But it got its moment in the spotlight last year as The Trust for Public Land helped save it from becoming a luxury housing development. Now it has been named “Best New Park” by TheDailyGreen.com’s 2011 Heart of Green Editor’s Choice Award.
The untouched Santa Monica Mountains behind the famous H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D sign were saved in 2010 by a very public and successful Trust for Public Land campaign to prevent development on the 138 acres behind and beside the “H.” Cahuenga Peak has been added to 4,100-acre Griffith Park.
The awards also recognized New York City as the “Greenest City,” particularly due to its ambitious master plan, called PlaNYC.
Named by the NDRC as a Smarter City for Transportation in 2011 and a Smarter City for Energy in 2010, New York City is following a plan, released by Mayor Bloomberg on Earth Day 2007, to reduce its carbon footprint – and its greenhouse gas emissions by 30% – and improve its environs by 2030. PlaNYC encompasses improvements in land, water, transportation, energy, air and climate change impacts. Notable accomplishments in the last year include making Times Square into a pedestrian-friendly causeway, planting thousands of trees and fighting to get hybrid taxis on the streets.
Though perhaps overshadowed by PlaNYC, New York also recently released Vision 2020, a comprehensive plan to reshape its substantial waterfront. It may come as a surprise to many that New York’s waterfront, which Mayor Michael Bloomberg called the sixth borough, is larger than that of Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and Portland combined. Recognizing that the task of reshaping 520 miles of shoreline may seem incomprehensibly large, New York’s planning department also released the Waterfront Action Agenda, which outlines 130 specific projects to be started in the next three years.
That report was preceded by a manual produced by the Design Trust for Public Space called “High Performance Landscape Guidelines: 21st Century Parks for NYC.” It contains best practices for park design and plant selection, guidelines for implementing the goals of PlaNYC, and suggestions on how parks can better promote cycling and walking.
Both of these high-profile cities, though in opposite corners of the country, share a commitment to improving livability through the development, protection, and rejuvenation of parks. We offer our congratulations for their newest green credentials.