Urban Ecology on the Ground  Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Therefore, strong educational campaigns are absolutely essential in the successful execution of urban ecological advocacy programs. One of the most fundamental efforts that come from NOAA funding is that of educational campaigns. Along with sponsoring coastal cleanups, NOAA is a prime example of a government agency focusing on recycling education campaigns within Miami-Dade's most populated areas, like the area surrounding Brickell Ave. Educating the public in terms of recycling has been one of NOAA and it's affiliates' most powerful tools in implementing successful urban conservation programs. With such a large population so close to natural wonders, the Brickell Ave area needs effective educational campaigns to curb littering on beaches and in parks, as well as lightening the impact of the local trash supply in the city's landfills. NOAA allocates federal funds for this very purpose within a localized sphere, once again proving the synergetic collaboration between local advocacy groups and government agencies of both local and federal nature.

Hold the Line

Another, more local, advocacy group to be working within South-East Florida is the Hold the Line Organization. Although much different in concentration from marine based advocacy groups, the organization aims to curb the uncontrollable swell of urbanization within the Miami-Dade area. Hold the Line has also chosen to unite themselves with local governmental resources in order to provide the most successful results in their urban ecological advocacy efforts. In fact, the organization seeks to lobby county and city officials to support the effort to keep the Urban Development Boundary from engulfing surrounding ecological habitats. The UBD can be understood as the boundary for future development, is meant to ensure the conservation of local ecological resources. According to organizational officials, "Hold the Line believes that moving the UDB at any location, whether for a large or small development, will only encourage and lead to truly massive projects (or "Developments of Regional Impact") that will add thousands of people onto areas that are vital" for not only conservation, but also agriculture as well," (Hold the Line 2010). Therefore, great efforts have been made to curb urbanization in undeveloped areas. This protects not only Florida's ecological habitat, but also its thriving agricultural industry. Hold the Line works with Mayor Carlos Alvarez and city council members like Commissioner Kay Sorenson in order to ensure the UBD stays put, keeping the lid on the urban sprawl erupting out of the Miami-Dade area. The organization holds town meetings to show constituent support for keeping the UDB where it is. Like the other local organizations, it relies primarily on public donations. It is also supported by "nearly 140 local organizations, businesses, homeowner groups, and municipalities" (Hold the Line 2010). Thus, the advocacy group has established a strong support base within not only the local government, but also local commerce in order to produce the most effective results in their conservation efforts.

Miami Green Commission

The Miami Green Commission is a City of Miami program. It is run by Mary Conway (Chief of Operations) who works on the Development of Public Private Partnerships, and Mr. Scott Palmer Fuhrman from Holly Real Estate who serves as the Project Coordinator on the Miami Green Commission. It has been the primary developer of green policy within the Miami-Dade area. It also sponsors the Urban Forestry Working Group created a plan "that links to key urban forestry principles including a focus on appropriate tree selection, proper installation, and maintenance of trees," (City of Miami 2010). In fact, the primary goal of the Miami Green Commission is to renew the local area's canopy coverage. According to research, "The plan will be a unique coordination linking both city and county input and will be used as a framework to coordinate efforts to restore and enhance the City's tree canopy with a goal of a minimum of 30% tree canopy coverage, City-wide, by 2020," (City of Miami 2010). This includes planting trees within much of the area around the heavily populated Brickell Ave. Parks within the Brickell Ave area will receive new trees within the next few years, including Simpson Park the nature reserve on S. Miami and Broadway, Alice Wainwright Park actually on Brickell Ave and Rickenbacker Causeway, Southside Park on SW 1st Ave and SW 11th St., Allen Morris Brickell Park on SE 10th and SE 1st Ave, Brickell Park, and Brickell Key Park. Funding goes to actual tree planting, but also research, data collection, and tree maintenance. The city-sponsored program uses CITY Green Software, "a powerful GIS application for land use planning and policy making, "to analyze recorded ecological data. It provides a thorough analysis of the city's complex ecosystem and helps formulate usable and functioning maps and reports. The software also helps calculate "dollar benefits based on the area's specific site conditions," (City of Miami 2010). The program itself will dominate the tree plantings within the city and county area. This data can then be used by a variety of conservation efforts. Such data is then to be published in public records, to help other smaller programs collect important ecological data for their own grassroots initiatives. The program also works with the Florida Department of Transportation to plant trees on public lands used for walkways and other transportation needs, for they provide the bulk of the maintenance, along with maintenance costs. Additionally, the program is aiming to repopulate Miami's parks with new trees. Parks are important; "Today, a major role of the parks systems lies in protecting the environment and in maintaining the ecological integrity of the land," (Hough 1994:44). This provides benefits for not only the ecological environment, but the masses of people within the urban Miami area. The current cost for an average tree planting is between $700 and $100. It is "The intent of the City is to leverage public funds and staff resources with private sector contributions to fully maximize the number of new tree plantings," (City of Miami 2010). It is funded primarily by the Tree Trust Fund, which created by the City Commission in 2004 -- has collected $638,000 to help the organization reach its goal. Funding will also go towards a public awareness campaign. This is aimed in order to "make people aware of the importance of trees, the correct way to plant, proper tree selection, and to highlight the importance of water conservation," (City of Miami 2010). It also raises public awareness through Public Service Announcements, or PSAs. The program holds workshops for both adults and children: education, hands-on tree planting and learning. According to research, "Environmental literacy lies at the heart of the concept of the sustainable city," (Hough 1994:45). The primary strategy in prevention educational campaigns is teaching the message of recycling, and working with local municipalities to help Miami residents in the Financial District find recycling resources. Thus the City of Miami spends much on educational programs aimed at prevention.


City of Miami. (2010). City of Miami tree master plan. Miami Green Commission. Retrieved February 18, 2010 from http://miami-dade.ifas.ufl.edu/pdfs/disaster/Hurricane%20Preparation%20files/City%20of%20Miami%20Master%20Plan.pdf

Devuyst, Dimitri. (2001). Introduction to sustainability assessment at the local level: a human ecological perspective. How Green is the City? Sustainability Assessment and the Management of Urban Environments. New York: Columbia University Press. 1-36.

Gonzalez, George a. (2005). Urban sprawl, global warming and the limits of ecological modernization. Environmental Politics. 14(3):344-362.

Hold the Line. (2010). Supporters. UBD Line. Retrieved February 18, 2010 from http://www.udbline.com/organizations.htm

Hough, Michael. (1994). Design with city nature: an overview of some issues. The Ecological City: Preserving and Restoring Urban Biodiversity. University of Massachusetts Press. 40-44.

Miami-Dade Coastal Cleanup. (2010). Miami-Dade Coastal Cleanup. Retrieved February 19, 2010 from http://www.miamidadecoastalcleanup.org/

U.S. Department of Commerce. (2008). NOAA invests record funding to clean up Miami's Biscayne Bay. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Retrieved February 19, 2010 from http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories2008/20080408_biscaynebay.html

Wheeler, Stephen M. (2004). Planning…

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