Eco Printing Tips
Aichi Expo 05
Green Map Japan
Brooklyn USA 02
Harlem USA 00
Malmö SE 99
Liverpool UK 97
New York 92
Green Map System
article originally appeared as the cover
story for the spring 1999 issue of the International Society for
Ecological Economics Bulletin. View the cover image here.
Seeing the World Through Green Maps
Wendy Brawer and Beatriz Castañeda
and addressing the ecological status of our planet today is too overwhelming
for most people, but the condition of our cities and towns is more
readily grasped and changeable. By putting places where nature and
the designed environment interconnect on a Green Map, a fresh perspective
is created that directly promotes the community's eco-resources. Each
of these locally-produced maps tells a different and very accessible
story about the elements and value of urban sustainability, using the
Green Map System's globally shared GMS Icons to highlight the area's
natural places, ECOnomic developments, mobility options, greening organizations,
and more. Whether printed or web-based, all Green Maps help residents
discover wonderful green sites to get involved with every day and encourage
the spread of successful greening initiatives across the globe.
the Green Maps, communities educate themselves regarding the interaction
between the natural and built environments, the relationship between
open space and cultural space. Mixing the ancient art of map-making
with new, interactive media, citizens of all ages and backgrounds are
invited to adapt and employ our collaborative tools as they chart the
green spaces, environmental resources and socially-significant sites
in their own cities. As experienced through these locally created Green
Maps, GMS strengthens community awareness regarding our connection
to the urban ecology. GMS is an environmental social project for healthier,
more sustainable urban ecologies. Currently, 90 cities of all sizes
in 27 countries on 6 continents are adapting the GMS framework as they
put their hometowns green sites on the map.
GMS was initiated
by Modern World Design in 1995, sparked by public response to the original
Green Apple Map of NYC. GMS has been designed as an ecological culture
collaboration that uses the Internet to promote sustainable communities.
Today, it has been recognized by the United Nations Centre for Human
Settlements as one of the "Global Best Practices 100", and
as a "Success Story" by the UN Commission on Sustainable
Development. GMS has been named an "EXPO 2000 Project Around
The World" by the upcoming World's Fair in Hannover Germany, and
our Icons were given a Gold by NRDC's International ECO Awards, as
well. These awards are due to the contributions of the pioneering Green
Mapmakers, sixteen of whom have already published Green Maps.
a new view of the world using strategies and skills that help urban
dwellers of all ages exercise creative, responsible leadership and
take direct action towards more healthy and thriving environments.
GMS invites local design teams to chart environmentally significant
places along with the cultural, historical and social sites that make
their community special. By adapting our design framework and utilizing
our visual language - a shared set of over 100 icons that symbolize
the different types of green sites - each team creates a unique, regionally-flavored
Green Map that expands local environmental knowledge, encourages exploration
and stewardship, and is connected to an expanding global network. Each
green site and Icon is selected and precisely defined within the local
context, based on a generally agreed-upon global definition. Each community's
Green Mapmakers determine their own process, and shape their map to
reflect local needs, with our network offering guidance, options and
tools for every step along the way.
process of setting the context for each of the Icons can be an eye-opening
task for the community's network of advocates and participants, and
cultural differences can be clearly seen when comparing the resulting
maps. The Icons denoting green business and services have proven to
be some of the more difficult -- and many Mapmakers set a "soft" standard,
even considering sites on a case-by-case basis, rather than adopting
a firm rule. Three cities in the Bay Area (California) illustrate this
- San Francisco left all non-food
businesses off the first edition in hopes of developing a wider dialogue
about the qualities of sustainable business. Four friends working
in publishing and GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping created
- Berkeley included over 60
businesses and services in the first edition, with a particular
emphasis on design and construction (created by the Northern California
chapter of Architects, Designers & Planners for
- Oakland set very strict criteria, which were
actually voted on in the City Council. They won't put any businesses
on the map that have not been certified. (This Green Map is a City
project, and still in an early stage of development, but the criteria
are posted at http://www.greenmap.org/howto/oakland.html).
maps are fresh, powerful images--resource efficient and beautiful reference
guides that help cities to be understood in a new light. More people
become aware of natural places they never knew were available in their
communities. Moreover, they see how particular environmental challenges
are being addressed in the next town, or in cities across the globe.
Together, all our "fresh views of home" are presenting an interwoven
network of cities progressing toward sustainability.
With 90 teams
active in 11 world capital cities and nearly a dozen larger politically
or biologically defined regions, as well as numerous small towns, a
remarkably diverse network has been formed. Green Maps are being made
Governmental agencies (such
as Rhode Island's Greenways Council, which published the first statewide
Green Map in Autumn 1998.
- Environmental organizations (Urban Ecology
Australia's Adelaide Green Map was the first publicly launched
by the city's Mayor in June 1998).
- NGOs (Kyoto's Tennen (Nature)
Design Forum prepared a workshop, tour and exhibit in addition
to debuting their Green Map at the UN Climate Change Conference
in December 1997.
- Designers (architect Tor Fossom is introducing
the second edition of Malmo Sweden's Green Map this spring).
- University students (botany students in Argentina
have created a website for their Mapas Verdes, covering parts of
Buenos Aires and more rural towns.
- Younger students (North Brooklyn
middle schools children have published a bicycle touring map
of the area's community gardens as 1999 began).
- Even ecological
economists (Cesar Levy Franca of Economia Socio Ambiental in
Araxa, Brazil, is working with Boy Scouts on this Local Agenda
Each of these maps and its mapmakers are linked
to our website, www.greenmap.org. We recommend touring Eco-Montreal's
website to see how the interdependence of the city and the bioregion
is illustrated. Powered by GIS and utilizing layered images, their
map uses water as the defining resource, zooming from a continental
view right down to the street level. There's more to come, as McGill
University has adopted the Eco-Montreal Map as an ongoing part of
the Urban Planning curriculum (http://www.mcgill.ca/sup/Eco_Montreal.html).
World Design directs the global GMS and has produced four editions
of NYC's Green Apple Map since 1992. We know from experience that
being put on the map is a very positive boost for sustainable businesses.
Direct patronage is increased and the ability to exchange ideas and
globally transfer technologies is enhanced. Terra Verde, the first
eco-store in NYC, so much appreciates the Green Apple Map that they
have given GMS access to the store's entryway for a prominent, semi-permanent
Green Map exhibit! You can also pick up a free copy of the printed
Green Apple Map at Terra Verde, 120 Wooster, in Soho. [ed. note:
Terra Verde is no longer open in New York.]
In addition to leading the
process and building the local capacity for exchange, our map team
leaders support one another, sharing methodology, lessons learned
and positive accomplishments on a continual basis via email and our
website. Creative adaptations abound, such as the youth-led Green
Map tours beginning in downtown Philadelphia this Spring (organized
by Sea Change). Thanks to Mapmakers, our materials have been translated
into eight languages, and outreach has been strengthened by the numerous
presentations and exhibits created in community and professional
venues across the globe. The design of GMS was based upon an ecosystematic
model and has benefitted greatly by this continual reciprocity.
we have begun developing GMS's Activity Guide for neighborhood-scale
Green Mapmaking, which will become available for school and youth
group projects in late 1999, supplemented by youth-made maps and
other materials on our website. As we have so much to learn from
young peoples' view of the world, we have already posted the introduction
to the Youth Green Mapping as well as a Spanish language web page
to encourage adoption of this project by our neighbors throughout
the Americas. With a total re-design of the website slated for 1999,
and re-organization of GMS as a not-for-profit organization, expansion
of our global network, and more culturally rich Green Maps coming
into use around the world, we're excited about the future.
how wonderfully useful the info-web is when put to work in service
of the web-of-life. Even though working online is new to many, the
web has expedited efficient global connectedness and helped a mulitude
of voices communicate the diverse nature of home. We encourage you
to visit our website and link over to the online Green Maps and colorful
websites maintained by our partners around the world.