Healthy landscapes have the capacity to enhance and regenerate natural resources and ecosystem health. The central message of Sustainable Sites Initiative(tm) (SITES(tm)) is that any landscape - whether the site of a large subdivision, a shopping mall, a park, an abandoned rail yard or even one home - holds the potential both to improve and to regenerate the natural benefits and services provided by ecosystems in their undeveloped state.
While standards existed for sustainable structures - "green buildings" - until 2009, there were no comprehensive guidelines and performance benchmarks for those who want to create and measure sustainable landscapes. Yet landscapes have great potential for both environmental good and severe environmental damage.
The Guidelines and Performance Benchmarks 2009, which includes the Rating System, can be used anyone in the design, construction and maintenance fields, as well as homeowners, governments and those who maintain existing green building standards.As these guidelines become the accepted practices, they will transform the ways we design and build on the land.
USBG's Bartholdi Park is a SITES Pilot Project
Pilot projects will test various aspects of the SITES rating system using a cross-section of project types, sizes and geographic locations throughout the design, construction and maintenance stages. Bartholdi Park is being redesigned as a Sustainable Sites Initiative pilot project, and as such, will include a demonstration garden for homeowners. The focus will be on different garden styles and plant options that all can be achieved using SITES guidelines. Each demonstration will be a synergistic solution for dynamic and holistic systems that can be interpreted for the home gardener, helping improve garden design and maintenance practices nationwide.