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Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping

Doin' The Green Thing - Oakland's TV Outreach Series

Oakland, California is ahead of the urban land management trend with strides in managing open space for sustainable urban greenspace.

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City heat island from greenhouse gas and global climate change Green spaces aren't always green -- with landscaping chemicals, lighting, pavement and resulting emissions. But the offsetting sustainability of trees, shrubs, water runoff cache basins, etc. are essential for urban biodiversity and emissions management.

Oakland, California is ahead of the urban land management trend with strides in managing open space for sustainable urban greenspace.

In the last 15 years, Oakland, California has added more than 300 acres of parks and open space, planted 10,000 more trees and installed 11,800 more street lights, and the cost of fuel, water, supplies and staff have increased dramatically.

Oakland is truly a city of parks, trees and scenic open space:

  • Over 130 City parks and public grounds
  • More than 2,300 acres of street, park and plaza landscaping, including scenic Joaquin Miller Park, Lake Merritt, and our two newest, Mandela Parkway and Union Point Park.
  • Approximately 75,000 street trees
  • 25 recreation, community and interpretive centers
  • More than 36,000 street lights and more than 670 traffic signals

Bright, Safe and Green Best Practices for Urban Landscapes

  • Landscape maintenance and litter pick-up at over 130 Oakland parks covering more than 2,000 acres—300 more acres added since the original LLAD.
  • Custodial services, litter pick-up, painting and general upkeep of 25 recreation centers and 28 stand-alone restroom facilities at ball fields and parks.
  • Pruning, removal, emergency services, and maintenance of approximately 75,000 street trees. More than 2,000 new trees have been planted in the last two years alone.
  • Maintenance of public gardens and historic landmarks, such as the Oakland Museum, Morcom Rose Garden, and the 75-acre Lakeside Park and community gardens.
  • Maintenance and repair of Little League/softball diamonds, soccer fields, adult league baseball fields, lawn bowling and putting greens.
  • Litter removal and weeding of more than 100 landscaped street medians.
  • Maintenance of swimming pools.
  • Routine repair, safety inspections, and litter pick-up at 76 tot-lots with playground equipment.
  • Servicing 36,219 street lights and park lighting, including 2,500 calls for street light repair annually.
  • Payment of gas, electricity and water bills for street lights, medians and park facilities. The City uses 132 million gallons of water a year.

Doin' the Green Thing Outreach TV Series

"Doin' the Green Thing" was nominated by the Cable Access Guild Beacon Awards for Best Series, Best Magazine Format Show, and Best Editing, and won the 2005 award for Best Opening for a Television Program.

The series is highlighted as part of a panel discussion on "The Greening of Local Government" at the American Society for Public Administration's 67th National Conference in Denver, CO April 2006 and "Doin' the Green Thing" has been awarded the American Public Works Association Northern California Chapter's 2005 Distinguished Project Award.

The ten episode topics are:

Air Quality

Information about improving air quality in the community by choosing alternative modes of transportation such as:
  • Alternative Fuel Vehicles
  • Public Transportation (e.g., bus, BART)
  • Bicycling
  • Car-pooling

Clean Water

Information about water pollution prevention by utilizing appropriate Best Management Practices (BMPs) in which residents can readily implement such as:
  • Fertilizer and pesticide reduction or alternatives
  • Vehicle maintenance (e.g., oil changes, car washing)
  • Stormwater controls on private property
  • Mercury light bulb and thermometer recycling

Construction & Demolition Debris Recycling & Removal

Information about how people can accomplish construction projects that minimize the amount of construction debris, and provide for reuse and recycling in the construction and disposal of materials. Creeks

Information about creeks and how valuable a resource they are

Detail how they:
  • Remove water pollutants and improve water quality
  • Provide flood control and stormwater drainage
  • Are vital to wildlife habitat and improve the quality of life
  • Create neighborhood beauty, increasing property and recreational value

Disposal of "Junk"

Information about how people can properly and legally dispose of unwanted items in their homes, the problems associated with illegal dumping, and who is ultimately responsible, including:
  • $1 million taxpayer dollars spent annually
  • Unlicensed haulers who leave items abandoned on City streets
  • City's fining process if your items are identified as being illegally dumped

Energy Efficiency

Information detailing how people can be more energy efficient with:
  • Production
  • Consumption
  • Conservation
and the positive impacts of doing so. Green Buildings

How people can make their homes more environmentally sustainable

  • Energy
  • Indoor Air Quality
  • Recycling and Reduction of Waste
  • Water Conservation
  • Landscaping and Irrigation

Litter Enforcement & Abatement

Information about the culture of litter, and how it impacts our lives, including:
  • Mindset behind why it occurs (e.g., someone is getting paid to clean up my mess)
  • Areas of high concentration
  • Associated costs of maintenance/upkeep/enforcement

Recycling & Solid Waste Reduction

Information that tells viewers that recycling is more than placing a bottle or piece of paper into a curbside bin for pickup once a week, and includes elements such as:
  • Source reduction
  • Composting
  • Rethinking your purchasing habits (e.g., buying in bulk vs. individual units)

Stewardship & Volunteerism

Information about how people can increase the looks, vitality, and economic integrity of their community by volunteering and beautifying their surroundings, including:
  • Neighborhood cleanups
  • Graffiti abatement
  • Pruning and plantings

To get the full story about Oakland's green and sustainable city programs, visit their OaklandPW website.

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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