Join APA in Washington, D.C., each month for this after-work lecture and discussion series.
- Open to APA members and nonmembers
- Held at APA's Washington, D.C., office: 1030 15th St. NW, Suite 750 West
- Given by practicing planners, researchers, and professionals from allied fields
- Focused on innovative ideas and concepts, or project presentations
Join in-person or access podcasts from past Tuesdays at APA programs.
The Wildland-Urban Interface and Rebuilding after Wildfire
December 12, 2017 | 5:30 p.m. ET
Wildland-urban interface (WUI) areas — where houses and other development meet or mix with undeveloped natural areas — are places of transition and change. Residential development removes or fragments the very wildland vegetation that often attracted homeowners, and wildfires are increasingly costly and difficult to manage in WUI areas where buildings are mixed into forests or grasslands.
Learn about a new data set that provides the first high-resolution data on WUI change from 1990 to 2010, revealing how housing growth and wildland vegetation have combined over time and the implications this has for local land-use policy and wildfire management. Analysis of this data reveals rapid growth of the WUI over this period — this new WUI area of 189,000 km2 is an area larger than Washington State.
The expansion of the WUI poses challenges for wildfire management, creating more buildings at risk to wildfire in environments where firefighting is often difficult. However, estimates of WUI growth, combined with research on rebuilding and recovery after wildfire, suggest that this type of growth is unlikely to diminish in the face of wildfire threats.
Studies of post-fire recovery demonstrate that rebuilding and new development is often extensive after wildfire, and that destructive fire rarely spurs widespread changes in local land-use policies to reduce future hazard exposure.
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Miranda Mockrin, PhD
Miranda Mockrin is a research scientist with the USDA Forest Service’s Northern Research Station, Baltimore, who studies conservation and land use, combining ecological and social science. She earned a doctoral degree in ecology from Columbia University. Much of her current research focuses on residential development and implications for forests, including mapping the growth of the wildland-urban interface (WUI) over time, examining recovery and adaptation after wildfire, and studying the effects of forest conservation and residential development policies, such as conservation development.
Bringing Health and Nature to the Public Realm
January 9, 2018 | 5:45 p.m. ET
Can public space be shaped to support human health and well being?
The pedestrian realm of a city encompasses indoor and outdoor public spaces as well as privately operated spaces open to the public. Whether they are sidewalks, parks, or trails, bridges, gardens, or hardscape plazas (or even building atriums and malls) these spaces have a profound effect on human health. A growing body of research shows that contact with the natural world has measurable health benefits for users.
Moving beyond the well-touted economic and environmental benefits of public green space, the panelists will take a deeper look at the qualities of those spaces (indoors as well as out) and ways to enhance their connection to human health, including innovative programming, biophilic design, and eco-therapy.
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Stella Tarnay is an urban planner with over 25 years of experience in sustainability innovation and green building. She has worked in the public sector in Washington, D.C., and Arlington County, Virginia. In 2014 she co-founded Biophilic DC, a project to bring the benefits of nature-based experience into urban policy and architectural practice. Tarnay has served as adjunct faculty in GWU’s Sustainable Landscape Design Program and at Boston Architectural College, and has written articles for Urban Land magazine and other publications. She holds a bachelor's degree in City and Regional Planning from the University of Virginia, and completed her graduate studies in City and Regional Planning at Cornell University. Tarnay is a steering committee member of the Biophilic Cities Network.
Tamberly Conway holds a B.S. in Wildlife Management from McNeese State University. She received a M.S. in Forest Recreation Management, and a PhD in Forestry, with a focus on Human Dimensions in Natural Resources, from Stephen F. Austin State University. Conway serves as the partnerships, diversity and inclusion specialist for the U.S. Forest Service Headquarters Conservation Education Program. Her work focuses upon creating both traditional and non-traditional partnerships in conservation education and community engagement to reach diverse audiences with conservation messages, programs, and stewardship opportunities.
Robert Zarr, MD
Robert Zarr is a board-certified pediatrician at Unity Health Care located in Washington, D.C., where he cares for low-income and immigrant populations. He is founder and medical director of Park Rx America, a community health initiative to prescribe nature to patients and families to prevent and treat chronic disease and promote wellness. He previously served as the Park Rx Advisor to the National Park Service in his national advocacy to connect people to parks.
John Henderson is a certified parks and recreation executive and city planner with over 25 years of experience in parks and recreation. Henderson earned a Juris Doctor degree from The John Marshall Law School, a bachelor's in Community Planning from the University of Cincinnati, and a certificate in Public Performance Measurement from Rutgers University. He also holds certifications in public participation, mediation, and arbitration and is a licensed attorney. Henderson recently became executive director of Park Rx America, a nonprofit that promotes the park prescription model.