Faculty Focus: Street Nature Score

Innovation & Entrepreneurship

oneway
For decades, people believed that the concrete jungles of dense cities were unsustainable, because they feel so divorced from nature. But they were wrong. Density is efficient. However, it isn’t necessarily fun. More livable neighborhoods have both nature and high density, not only providing streets where people can walk, but where people want to walk. Many urban planners and property owners know this intuitively, but who determines how much nature is good, or how different sites compare?
Faludi Design is proud to announce the beta release of Street Nature Score, a web-based tool for measuring urban nature. It is both a standalone website and a widget that can be inserted in web pages advertising properties. The goal of Street Nature Score is to help people value nature in cities, because nature makes cities both more sustainable and more livable.
Today, the most sustainable parts of cities–densely populated, walkable areas–are mostly concrete and steel, while suburbs feel green, even though they are less sustainable. As the saying goes, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. By measuring urban nature in a publicly accessible way, we can help individuals, developers, and planners make cities both more sustainable and nicer places to live.

Street Nature Score may also be a valuable sales tool to property owners. Research has shown that home prices can increase up to 13% with street trees, and business districts with vibrant nature can have 9-12% higher consumer spending. If you were looking for a new house or apartment, wouldn’t you want to see how pleasant and green the location is?

The site is now in beta; currently there is only data for the cities of Seattle and San Francisco. Other cities and analysis features will be included as donations arrive. You can donate, and share it on Google+ and Facebook. We are excited about helping cities and citizens better understand what they have, so we can help them create a brighter, greener future.

Image courtesy of @john|tyler

Jeremy Faludi

Jeremy Faludi, Ph.D., LEED AP BD+C, is a sustainable design strategist.  He is an assistant professor at Dartmouth College and has taught green product design at Stanford and elsewhere.  He has contributed to six books on sustainable design, including Worldchanging: A User’s Guide for the 21st Century, and co-authored the Autodesk Sustainability Workshop.  He prototyped the first version of AskNature.org for the Biomimicry Institute, created the Whole System Mapping sustainable design method, and a bicycle he helped design appeared in the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt Design Museum’s 2007 exhibit “Design for the Other 90%”.