Glen Schmidt was the last of six expert presenters who addressed a full house Saturday morning, January 25, 2014 in the Natural History Museum's Charmaine and Maurice Kaplan Theater, Balboa Park, San Diego. The goal was to provide a framework for thinking about the complexity of water issues. Glen Schmidt is an award winning landscape architect.

Glen started his presentation with the fact that landscape watering represents more than 50% of San Diego City residential water usage. This is more water than what Denver, Colorado and Alburquerque, New Mexico each use in total. He attributes this to new residents coming from other areas and bringing their landscaping aesthetic values, including turf grass, with them. He points out we are ignoring our coastal and inland valley regional microclimates. He recommends that we adopt a "San Diego Style" that is sustainable using native California plants. He realizes that we are still in the early adopters stage of sustainable landscapes. He highlights "triggers" for change: recognize there is a crisis, politically mandate that it is required, discover an economic advantage and consumer preference.

He concedes that we have many acres of wasteful landscaping and inefficient irrigation systems. He presents a concept to advance landscaping change: consider financing renovations through a voluntary water offset program with new development. Glen points out the socioeconomic considerations with aerial images comparing La Jolla and Encanto neighborhoods. He has an idea to decouple water delivery fixed costs - infrastructure, sewer and storm water and put that into a property tax assessment. That way people pay for the actual water cost they use, shifting the burden to  shifting the burden to landowners and decreasing the financial impacts on low income renters. He concludes with the positive impacts of consumer preference - it is in style, the right thing to do, or championed by an influential leader. Glen points out Chicago's efforts to become one of the world's most environmentally friendly cities.

The Art of Science Learning San Diego Incubator for Innovation presented the event. and has formed an innovation community comprised of scientists, engineers, artists, entrepreneurs, students, and educators from our binational region. Our goal: to create new products, services, and learning programs targeting water and the mismatch between supply and demand. The San Diego Incubator is one of three incubators in the Art of Science Learning—hosted by the Balboa Park Cultural Partnership, funded by the National Science Foundation, and dedicated to promoting creativity and innovation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics through thoughtful integration of the arts.

About Glen Schmidt: Glen Schmidt’s 30 years of planning and landscape architectural design experience for innovative projects within the Southwest have earned him a reputation for professionalism, quality, artistic integrity, and environmental sensitivity. Throughout his career, Mr. Schmidt has been involved in complex projects that have required coordination, negotiation and approvals from multiple public agencies and jurisdictions. The projects he has designed have won numerous local, state and national awards for design excellence. Mr. Schmidt was inducted as a Fellow in the American Society of Landscape Architects, a national honor based on his “significant works of landscape architecture” over an extended period of time.
Mr. Schmidt is skilled and experienced in leading public meetings. He has demonstrated his ability, on numerous occasions, to integrate the ideas of diverse public and municipal groups toward a consensus which reflects the concerns of all involved. He is also a skilled presenter and has led numerous educational seminars and talks conveying technical issues to a wide range of audiences at local, state, and national levels.

Glen Schmidt is Prinicpal - Charge of Schmidt Design which is headquartered in San Diego and has a branch office in Sacramento.

Video and editing by Anders Tomlinson. Audio recording by Denver Clay.

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