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The Depave Movement Battles Concrete Landscapes

Depave is a movement with a mission.

The drive to replace excess concrete to green up city spaces has inspired and fueled their crusade.

Located in Portland, Oregon, the nonprofit organization attempts to enrich existing dull pavement plots and to promote more aesthetically pleasing spaces. Their idea is that living in the city does not have to mean giving up green areas.

It is against human nature to be constantly disconnected with outdoor surroundings, and bringing life back into urban spaces that are overabundant with concrete backdrops is a valuable way to put unused, stark sections of land to work.

With the help of volunteers, the group began their first task in 2008 and turned a large parking lot into a woodland garden. The organization continues to partner with schools, corporations and individual clients to re-design areas and create new, eco minded zones.

Cleaning up portions of unused concrete slabs and changing them into green areas benefits communities as well as the environment. Instead of asphalt based plots, nature inspired designs help with things like controlling rainwater runoff, providing agricultural products and cleaner air spaces. Flat synthetic surfaces like concrete hold more water pollution than natural materials, and when combined with neglect and discarded waste, contaminated rainwater overflow leaks throughout surrounding places.

The group also promotes community service by hosting instructive events and offering resources and advice that help others green up paved spaces including funding information, building codes and even how to care for the land after asphalt removal. Their efforts also include consulting with new building projects to reduce the use of unneeded pavement from the start in order to incorporate living areas in the building plans.

In addition to the environmental benefits actions like the Depave group provides by balancing out the concrete with the living, there are also direct psychological advantages to having access to natural surroundings. Research overwhelmingly shows that time spent outdoors in vegetative expanses, instead of unnatural areas can have many positive effects.

Ridding spaces of surplus concrete plots can help neighborhoods in countless ways. Responsible design includes thinking of ways to balance out actual construction requirements with human needs, too. Providing structures that perform as well as spaces that rejuvenate are smart and much needed developments.

Depave stated that to date they have removed over 94,000 square feet of concrete, and have plans for taking on more.

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