3.3. Integrate natural resources, trees and natural resource interpretation into the design of public spaces.
3.3.1. Explore opportunities to participate in and join the Biophilic Cities movement.
Biophilic cities, where a commitment to natural space and natural features is at the core of planning and design, provide abundant and varied opportunities to connect residents with the natural world. In a biophilic city, natural space is everyday space, and the opportunity to experience nature is both readily available and regularly practiced. The County should seek to integrate biophilic planning and design of our public spaces to promote the important link between human health and well-being and the meaningful daily experience of nature and biodiversity in our densifying community.
3.3.2. Expand natural areas and tree canopy within high-density corridors.
Arlington’s high-density corridors have limited natural areas, and few opportunities to connect residents, workers and visitors with the natural world. As public spaces in high density corridors are planned and designed, zones can be identified within those public spaces for natural areas.
3.3.3. Promote the planting, preservation, and maintenance of canopy trees on public (including County and non-County owned) and private land.
Arlington’s tree canopy provides many economic and environmental benefits; increasing tree cover will also help advance the goals laid out in the Urban Forest Master Plan. Tree preservation and maintenance will be promoted to the greatest extent possible, over tree replacement.
3.3.4. Expand and work with partners to extend non-native invasive species management and public education campaigns (see also 6.2.5.).
Non-native invasive species are detrimental to the local ecology by competing with native species for resources and disrupting established ecological cycles. It is important not only for the County to effectively manage non-native invasive species on public space but also to educate private property owners so they can do the same.
3.3.5. Add interpretive signage within public spaces that highlight the natural resources and the benefits those resources provide.
3.3.6. Encourage nature-inspired play and experiences in public spaces.
Nature inspired play elements can include play elements made of natural or prefabricated materials that encourage children and adults to express their creativity, connect, play and learn in nature.
3.3.7. Expand and promote official recognition and protection programs such as the Notable Tree, Champion Tree and Specimen Tree programs.
3.3.8. Increase the diversity of habitats for critical species and develop maintenance guidelines.
As Arlington becomes more and more developed, there is less overall space and fewer types of spaces available for critical wildlife species to inhabit. The County should preserve what habitats currently exist and seek to enhance them in order to balance the continuing urbanization of the region.
3.3.9. Explore opportunities to use public art to interpret natural resources.
Natural resources and projects that enhance them offer good opportunities for infusing public art into public space, as in the “Cultivus Loci: Suckahanna” (Jann Rosen-Queralt, 2004) installation at Powhatan Springs Park and the “Watermarks” (D.I.R.T. studio, 2017) project on the Four Mile Run Trail.