The (Baltimore, Md.) Sun has an interesting look today at a project to turn asphalt schoolyards in the city into grassy, permeable surfaces. Not only does it mean fewer scrapes for rambunctious children, it also reduces storm-water runoff.

The Sun reports:

Asphalt playgrounds came of age in the 1950s, when homes were torn down to make way for schools. At the time, inner-city schools like the ones in Baltimore were much more populous than they are now, and the concrete was needed for parking lots, basketball courts and other facilities. With nothing to mow or landscape, the surface was also thought to be easier to maintain.

But over the years, the asphalt became cracked, dangerous and full of litter. With no funds to maintain the playgrounds, they became off limits to many city children.

Oscar Romo, coastal training program coordinator at the Tijuana River National Estuarine Research Reserve, has been working on a similar project in Tijuana, aiming to use permeable pavers to line roads through a new development there. That project aims to reduce erosion while recharging groundwater aquifers. For background on that, read my earlier story.

ROB DAVIS

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