Rhode Island

Loss of Pollinator Habitats Threatens Food Security

These honey bees are pollinating 'Walker's Low' (Nepeta racemosa) at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center.  (SDG 2010).

Pollinator species populations, such as the vital Honey Bee, are declining at alarming rates.

Why you should care:

  • Pollinators are vital to agriculture.  Nearly all fruit, vegetable, and seed crops used to produce fuel, medicine, and food require animal pollinators (such as birds, bees, and butterflies.)
  • Intensification of agriculture, pollinator habitat fragmentation and habitat loss are all factors which have negatively impacted native pollinator populations.
  • If populations continue to decline,  crop production could decline with it - causing a spike in food prices.
  • 10% of Rhode Island's total land acreage is devoted to Agriculture.
  • Rhode Island is a leader in direct sales of produce from farms to consumers.
  • Agriculture (including livestock, dairy, aquaculture, nursery and greenhouse stock, vegetables, and sod production) contributes significantly to Rhode Island's economy.

What you can do:

The Heinz Center. 2013. Rhode Island Pollinators and Agriculture. Washington, DC, 46 pp

Infrastructure and the Providence River

This historic image shows the river when it was 70% paved over, before the mid-1980s when the River Relocation Project began. Watch the video to see how the river looks now.

#PVD has done a lot to re-purpose old infrastructure. The Providence River in downtown was once covered by a multi-lane road and is now a beautiful asset for the community. #Waterfire has become a major tourist destination and revenue generator for the city. Providence is a supporter of #parkingday which brings pop-up parks into downtown in the Fall each year. We also have a state-wide network of bike trails, many of which are old railways. What infrastructure repurposing project should Providence focus on next? Underpass parks along the 6-10 corridor? More parks in the I-195 redevelopment? Watch the video, created by Nicholas Lin, to see the Providence River as it is today. The video starts where the old I-195 ramp was and travels up river, before turning back to where it started. 

#PARK(ing) Day Highlights

Thank you to everyone who stopped by our PARK(ing) Day installation on Friday!  We had a blast talking to the community about climate change, the role of landscape architects in resiliency planning, and how we can make positive changes for the future. For those of you who missed it, here are the highlights from the day:

We talked to passers-by about current sea level rise projections and what that means for Providence and Rhode Island. In turn they shared their thoughts and ideas with us on index cards and added them to our wall of hope throughout the day, creating a colorful mosaic. Some of our younger participants added to our chalk art of Rhode Island on the ground. Sailing flags spelling out H-O-P-E hung below the banners on the sidewalk.  We used inundation-tolerant plant species to catch people's attention and make an attractive and informative display. The signage shows maps of sea level projections in Providence for 2050 and 2100 and talks about the causes, effects, and solutions to the problems coastal cities like Providence are facing.


DesignWeek by DESIGNxRI September 14 - 25

As one of the local design talents being spotlighted this year, our very own Taber Caton will be giving a lecture and tour of Roger Williams Park Botanical Center. Searle Design Group completed the Master Plan for the center in 2010 to implement sustainable updates to the exterior grounds of New England's largest indoor garden.

This event is taking place THIS THURSDAY September 22 at noon at Roger Williams Park, 1000 Elmwood Avenue in Providence, RI and is SOLD OUT as of today. Click here to learn more.

Getting Ready for @PARK(ing)DayPVD! #climatechange #sealevelrise #oceanstate

We've been hard at work planning, modeling, and prototyping a pop-up park to engage the community about the issue of sea level rise in Rhode Island.  The neighbor's cat came over to lend a helping paw with our prototype. If you're curious about what we've been up to, come see us on September 16 from 9-5 in front of the Bank of America Building at 111 Westminster St. in downtown Providence!  Come enjoy cold drinks and fun (there'll be sidewalk chalk), and help us envision a better future for the Ocean State. 

Climate Change Fact of the Day:

  • The average carbon footprint per person/per year in America is 20 metric tons.
  • The average carbon footprint per person/per year for all other nationalities is 4 metric tons.
  • The worldwide target for combating climate change is 2 metric tons.

To learn how you can reduce your carbon footprint, visit carbonfund.org (big hint: drive less)

A Colorful Visit to the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center

Tuesday morning Taber, Rebecca, and Jess did some volunteer weeding at the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center.  Searle Design Group developed the master plan for the center in 2010 and with the continued efforts of maintenance staff and volunteers, this portion of the park offers visitors a unique educational experience among a large, diverse collection of plants.  If interested in visiting (or volunteering!) check out: http://www.providenceri.com/botanical-center  


Many important questions posed in Newport about how to handle sea level rise and increased frequency and intensity of storms on our coasts and further inland. @unionstudioarch posed an important question: elevate, move to higher ground, or let the structure fall into the ocean?

NEXT STOP: Making Transit Work for Rhode Island

Thanks Grow Smart RI and the Coalition for Transportation Choices for putting together this informative forum. We learned that 80% of Rhode Islanders live within a 10-minute walk from a transit stop but only 2.7% use transit regularly.  Great case studies on how public private partnerships were developed to improve transit choices and local economies.  Nice to see Governor Raimondo coming out to support these efforts.

East Greenwich Library cuts the ribbon

SDG was honored to be a part of the ribbon cutting ceremony for the Reading Terrace and outdoor wi-fi access area at the East Greenwich Free Library today. Many talented and generous people contributed to this project: not least of which was the Damon Company and their sub-contractors who made our designs a reality, and the Library Board, all of whom were such a joy to work with... Many thanks to this wonderful group. We hope to work with you all again in the future in some capacity!

EG Lib ribbon cutting