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Author: Roger Bardsley, AICP I recently visited the city of Denver, CO and came away with a number of favorable impressions.  I worked in the Denver metro area from 1980-1984 and Denver today is not the city I remember.  First, a little background:  The Denver metro area (as defined by the Denver Regional Council of Governments) is made up of nine counties and 47 municipalities with a population of over three million.  The region uses a fairly consistent grid street pattern and addressing system that covers most of the area. No need to get lost if you can read a map.  Second, most of the sewage is treated by the Metro Denver sewage treatment district, with the great majority handled at one plant in Commerce City (don’t ask about water).  Storm sewer is likewise handled on a regional basis.  The metro area is under one MPO and one Regional Council.  Even better, transit is consolidated under a single district known as RTD.  OK, so that gives the Denver region an advantage over most other fragmented and disorganized metropolitan areas, but still, what they have accomplished is remarkable.  Here are the highlights: Light Rail:  When I worked there light rail was being discussed – lots of talk and lines on the map, but nothing concrete.  In roughly the same time that Charlotte built one light rail line, Denver built nine, covering 85 miles, with a connection to the airport and all of the professional sports venues.  That is an exaggeration since the line to the airport just opened last year, but it is still an impressive track record.  Their downtown transit... read more

The Power of Plants: Enriching Lives, Creating Jobs, Building Wealth, Saving Money

Author: Debbie Hamrick, Director Specialty Crops North Carolina Farm Bureau Federation PO Box 27766 Raleigh, NC 27611-7766 (919) 334-2977 Cell: (919) 302-9538 Horticulture positively affects people’s lives where they live, work, shop and play, according to a new report from the National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) ( The benefits of consumer horticulture are spotlighted in “#PlantsDoThat, Horticulture: The Art, Science, & Business of Plants.” The infographic illustrates how consumer horticulture contributes $196 billion to the U.S. economy and creates more than 2 million jobs. “The story doesn’t just stop at direct economic impact,” said Casey Sclar, NICH Chair. “Consumer and society engagement through plants permeates all aspects of our lives, from providing the aesthetic backdrop to directly enriching our health and well-being.” According to the NICH report, plants benefit society in many ways: Plants in the workplace reduce employee sick time by 14% Well-landscaped homes are more valuable; since homes represent 25% of personal wealth, outdoor plants pack a powerful personal finance punch American’s are growing more of their own food—25% of all Americans grow berries, veggies or fruit trees Shaded roadways save 60% of repaving costs America’s public gardens generate $2.3 billion in tourism spending The National Initiative for Consumer Horticulture (NICH) is a consortium of industry leaders who are promoting the benefits and value of horticulture. NICH brings together academia, government, industry, and nonprofits to cultivate the growth and development of a healthy world through landscapes, gardens and plants – indoors and out. The Mission of NICH is to grow a healthy world through plants, gardens, and landscapes. #PlantsDoThat—Horticulture: The Art, Science & Business of Plants is... read more

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