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Can Dirt Become Soil Again?

Does soil become "dirt" when it's in an urban context? And if so, can it be made into soil again? I’ve known Dr. Bryant Scharenbroch, a soil researcher at Morton Arboretum and assistant professor of soil science at University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, for 11 years. In that time, he’s been involved in some... More
New Research on the Impact of Trees on the Urban Heat Island Effect_Joseph Gruber

New Research on the Impact of Trees on the Urban Heat Island Effect

New research on trees and urban heat island effect that may influence how and where we plant trees. Today I had the privilege of talking to Austin Troy, Professor and Chair of the Department of Planning and Design at the University of Colorado Denver. He recently presented preliminary results of his research on “The Effect... More
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Toronto’s Proof-of-Concept Sidewalk
Silva Cell case study

Exciting interim monitoring results from a 2009 Silva Cell installation. The Queensway is a major thoroughfare in Toronto that, after its construction in the 1950s, incorporated streetcar service as well as vehicle traffic. Starting in the 2000s, there was an increase in residential development, and the area has undergone new construction projects in order to accommodate... More

How Sandy Does Bioretention Soil Need to Be?

Bioretention soils can contain more fines than you may realize and still be very effective. Bioretention media is an important topic in the design world. As green infrastructure solutions gain acceptance, there is increased focus on finding the most effective media for on-site stormwater management. But there isn’t (yet) a lot of agreement on what... More
Distant Hill Gardens

Want Pollinators? Plant Trees

Thanks to widespread efforts to raise awareness of the large declines in bee and Monarch butterfly populations, most people are aware of the need to protect pollinators.  Monarch butterfly populations have declined 90% in the last 20 years. Bees and other pollinators are in trouble too. Primary causes of the drastic declines in pollinator populations... More
222 Hennepin Avenue

Smart Tree Care and Maintenance – Even More Lessons

In part one of this series, we gave recommendations for how to address tree maintenance needs in a smarter and more financially (and ecologically) sustainable way. In part two, we shared specific lessons from other cities that I was aware of – and asked you to reach out and share your experience. Today, we’ll share... More
Jeramey Jannene_CC BY 2.0

14 Reasons to Invest in Living Green Infrastructure

After years of neglect, infrastructure is again being discussed as a major priority for public investment in many jurisdictions. Ontario’s new Climate Change Strategy calls for the building of green infrastructure, among other things, to help us mitigate and adapt to climate change. In the past, public investments have largely been directed to only grey... More
Urban Forest as Asset_Jon Dawson

The Urban Forest as an Asset Class

We all know that street trees have value; you frequently hear statistics about how much energy savings they offer, or how much they add to the selling price of a home. And in some cases, for example with heritage trees or in environmentally sensitive areas, trees are identified as assets for planning and permitting purposes.... More
Photo 2 Urban Forest from mark Palmer

Cool Gray City of Trees
Interview with Mei Ling Hui

Mei Ling Hui has been with San Francisco’s Department of Environment since 2007, first as the Urban Forestry and, more recently, the Agriculture Coordinator. Along with her main role in those programs, she provides support to the Climate, Environmental Justice, and Toxics Programs, serving at the intersection of many public stakeholders. She provides staff support to... More

13 Simple Steps to Evaluate Trees

There are now dozens of open-source tree maps in communities worldwide. The most successful mapping projects are those that provide citizen scientists with simple guides on how to accurately identify tree species and assess tree health. The more accurate the information on the tree maps, the more accurate the green infrastructure calculations they produce – and the... More