Tree Canopy

Environmental Sustainability and Resiliency

LBA GUIDING PRINCIPLE:

Promote Environmental Sustainability and Resiliency
Transform Langston Boulevard into a Green Main Street

Reduce energy use and emissions.

Buildings and transportation are two of the biggest culprits in climate change. So as developers contemplate new buildings on Langston Blvd., each must meet the test: How will it reduce energy use? Support electrification? Incorporate green space? LBA is a partner in creating and communicating this new Green Main Street. LBA also sponsors an Earth Day Everyday event that draws hundreds of people to find ways to save energy and explore next-generation modes of transportation. We also work to improve transportation through our collaboration with Vision Zero, an effort to reduce serious accidents at problem intersections. Pedestrians, buses, drivers and cyclists all have a place on Langston Blvd., but the challenge is coexisting efficiently and safely in the next era of growth.

Reduce Emissions
Biophilia

Encourage green infrastructure and biophilic design.

Arlington has long used large pipes to channel runoff and stormwater away, but that “gray” infrastructure is aging and overwhelmed by the growing need. “Green infrastructure” aims to help absorb the stormwater where it falls, using systems of native plants/landscaping, permeable pavement, and storage to manage it. As Langston Blvd. gets a new look, LBA works with project leaders to ensure such strategies as rain gardens alongside new housing and open park space nestled along major roads. LBA also sponsors educational sessions for residents to discuss energy use and biophilic design.

Biophilic design matters because we Americans spend most of our time in a built environment—home, office, shop, cafe. When designers interject multiple elements of nature into such manmade buildings, these sparks of life can refresh and invigorate humans’ state of mind. Biophilic design incorporates natural light and materials (wood, cork, plantings), walls of greenery, even bird feeders at a window to support this approach along Langston Blvd.

Manage stormwater and flood risk.

Langston Blvd., flanked by many commercial and residential buildings dating back to the ‘60s, will need significant upgrades and county investment to help manage stormwater and flood risk as it redevelops. One way is to reduce impervious surfaces (now 67% of LB’s core area) so that groundwater has “somewhere to go” before it ultimately flows into the Potomac River. In some cases, large stormwater detention projects must be constructed; in others, overland relief can be designed with strategies like tiered landscaping and native vegetation. LBA educates and empowers citizens on Arlington’s CIP (Capital Improvement Plan) so that stormwater projects affecting Langston Blvd. can be funded, planned and finished in a timely fashion. LBA also collaborates in a coalition of civic associations that concentrates on projects affecting watersheds in the Langston Blvd. area.

Manage Stormwater
Tree Canopy

Increase and protect tree canopy.

Let's say you're flying, like Peter Pan, above Arlington. What do you see? A lot of buildings, parking lots, streets and highways. And, in places, a fair amount of green—our tree canopy. As Arlington works to mitigate the urban heat island effect, our tree canopy (now at just 21%) could be a stronger defender. This layer of leafy trees and branches, as seen from above, acts as an air filter and absorbs carbon dioxide—one way to sustain the environment. Trees also absorb rainwater and reduce the risk of stormwater runoff. They cool the air and increase livability, enhancing social gatherings and community. The challenge is preserving land on which to plant new trees, and waiting until they mature for full effect. As each new project emerges, LBA will be working with staff and citizens to preserve existing trees and ensure new ones are planted, especially along Langston Blvd. itself.

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