Sustainable Urban Design: Educator’s Toolkit for Project-Based Learning, page 6 of 20

Introduction: Quick Guide to Projects

The following table can help you identify which projects might be right for your site. With information on the level of difficulty, time commitment, location requirements, and cost, you and your students can choose which project(s) fit into your busy schedule without stretching your limited budget.

Creating Urban Habitats This table describes the relative level of difficulty, time commitment, location type, area requirement, and cost range for projects that help create urban habitats.
Type of ProjectLevel of Difficulty and Relative Time CommitmentLocation TypeCost Range for Construction (estimates do not include permitting, site testing, labor)
Tree PlantingLow, an hour per tree for large caliper trees.It depends on the tree being planted. Some trees need more room for root expansion than others. Proximity to buildings and the effects of falling leaves or needles needs to be accounted for. Plan on a diameter of 30 to 40 feet. Also consider where you want the shade the tree will produce.Plan on $150–$250 per tree (there are free tree resources, but supplies are needed)
Pollinator GardensLow, 2 daysAreas with good sun. Not too wet, not too dry. Access to irrigation. 100 to 1000 square feet.$800–$1,200
Native Plant GardensLow, 2 daysAreas with good sun. Not too wet, not too dry. Access to irrigation. 100 to 1000 square feet.$800–$1,200
Attracting WildlifeFeeders: Low, 1 day Bird baths: Low to medium, 1 to 2 days. Nest boxes and bat houses: Medium, 2 days to 1 week depending on type and number of boxes or houses.Feeders: area that can be kept clean, less than 3' or greater than 30' from windows. Hummingbird feeders should be placed in shade. Bird baths: area near water source for cleaning and refilling; over 30' from windows. Nest houses/bat boxes: depends on species. Place where may receive morning sun, but not hot afternoon sun. Bat boxes need to be placed in full sun, preferably facing east, southeast or south.$0–$250. Feeders: $10–15 for hummingbird feeder or thistle feeder. Up to $100 for others if include pest and rain guards. Bird baths: $50 for new, less for homemade cement bath. Nest houses/bat boxes: new bird nest boxes: $20–$70; build-your-own nest box: $30–$50; new bat boxes: $75–$200 depending on complexity; build-your-own bat box: single-chamber $150–$160 and up to $300 for 2-chambered rocket box.
Changes in Grounds Management This table describes the relative level of difficulty, time commitment, location type, area requirement, and cost range for efforts to change existing grounds management practices in favor of more sustainable practices.
Type of ProjectLevel of Difficulty and Relative Time CommitmentLocation TypeCost Range for Construction (estimates do not include permitting, site testing, labor)
Brush, leaf, and compostLow, 1 hour for 1,000 square feetAnywhere with existing landscaping that uses beauty bark or has no mulch top dressing.$80–$120 per 1,000 square feet
Installing a Native LawnLow, 1 hour for 1,000 square feetAny existing lawn, especially where chemical fertilizer is used.Varies: $120–$200 per 1,000 square feet
Green Stormwater Infrastructure This table describes the relative level of difficulty, time commitment, location type, area requirement, and cost range for green stormwater infrastructure projects.
Type of ProjectLevel of Difficulty and Relative Time CommitmentLocation TypeCost Range for Construction (estimates do not include permitting, site testing, labor)
Downspout DisconnectionLow-Medium, requires the use of hand tools. 4 hours.Any downspout connected to an underground pipe system.$150–$200 per downspout
Rainwater HarvestingMedium, 1-2 days for 1,000-gallon system.Any downspout, especially those connected to an underground pipe system.$500–$2,000 for 1000 gallons. Expect anywhere from $2–5 per gallon of storage
Rain GardensHigh, 2–3 days for 200 square feetThere are many requirements for a good rain garden location. See the discussion on page X.$1,500–$5,000 for 200 square feet
BioswalesHigh, 2–3 days for 200 square feetThere are many requirements for a good bioswale location. See the discussion on page X.$1,500–$5,000 for 200 square feet
Depaving & Permeable PavementsDepaving: Medium; Permeable Pavements: Very HighAreas with existing or planned hard surfacing.Depaving: $1–5 per square foot. Permeable Pavement: $12–35 per square foot
Green RoofsVery highProposed new buildings, or existing buildings with very high loading allowances.$4–$25 a square foot