community action

In the Spirit of the Season
Just a month ago, I wrote in this space about the generosity of a group of watershapers and landscape designers who planted a park in a Rochester, N.Y., neighborhood that definitely needed a boost. Ever since, it seems, I have kept running into reports of genuine, aquatically related community spirit. In many cases, for example, threatened closures of public swimming pools have been averted through donations by individuals and businesses in their communities. Local governments, strapped for the cash to pay for anything other than essential services, have seemed all too willing to save money by closing down pools (or shutting off fountains or idling interactive waterfeatures), thereby making
A Green Harvest
Oddly enough, this story takes place in a down economy and shows how, despite perceived financial limitations, something surprising and wonderful can happen when people put their minds to it. For years now, my work at Aquascape (St. Charles, Ill.) has largely focused on developing, designing and installing systems that in one or more ways are environmentally sound and beneficial.  In early 2009, I began working on a plan for a prototype community designed around optimal use of its resources, especially water. I imagined a town filled with rainwater-capturing systems, permeable surfaces and efficient irrigation.  It included nothing but indigenous plants, was organized with minimal turf areas and set aside space for composting and cooperative organic farming.  As for the homes, all of them boasted various resource- and energy-efficient features. The overall concept was so