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Shades of Green: The Hidden Carbon Cost of Tree Planting and Care

When you work with trees for a living, it’s easy to feel good about your impact on the environment. After all, trees provide us so many benefits including controlling stormwater runoff, reducing urban temperatures and sequestering carbon. However, there is a carbon footprint involved in their production, planting, pruning and ultimate removal. Trees play the... More

A pedestrian plaza for an historic downtown
Silva Cell case study

Rockwall, Texas, a growing community located 25 miles northeast of Dallas, contains a quaint, historic downtown district that dates back to the late 1800’s. In 2004, planning began to breathe new life into downtown Rockwall and to address problems with existing design and infrastructure including accessibility issues, lack of pedestrian scale, and problems with existing... More
Skate park at "Mer-les-Bains"

Urban Design is Affecting Our Brains

Design affects the brain. We know this intuitively, as we get frustrated when poor wayfinding causes us to get us lost or we feel renewed after a run in the park, but only recently are we starting to understand how and why. Our immediate environment can prompt both negative and positive effects and it’s becoming... More

Stopping Water Pollution in its Tracks: Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and the case for stormwater management

Water pollution is a serious problem worldwide, whether in rivers and lakes or massive oceans. After the famous Cuyahoga River fire of 1969, environmental regulations were put into place in the U.S. which have helped curb the amount of pollutants we put into our water and reversed some, but not all, of the problems stemming... More
Seattle street

Trees and sidewalks: A strategic approach to conflicts

Trees and sidewalks transform city streets into lush and inviting places to linger, to chat with a neighbor or enjoy the outdoors on a summer evening. As key pieces of urban infrastructure, they each invigorate a city in their subtle ways. Both provide health and economic benefits, and help to build character and support a... More
Armorlite Drive

Underground Bioretention Along Armorlite Drive in San Marcos, CA
Silva Cell case study

San Marcos, a small city in the North County region of San Diego County, now stands out as a distinct, regionally identifiable city with its own light rail public transit system and is home to several colleges and universities. Recently they’ve focused attention and resources on retrofitting select parts of the city to make them... More

Where Should We Plant Urban Trees?

Cities are generally both warmer and more polluted than non-urban areas, as paved surfaces absorb heat, leading to increased energy consumption, and vehicle and human activity produces waste and airborne particulate matter. These have huge negative consequences for human health, but a dense urban tree canopy can help reduce these risks. The role trees play... More
Seattle street

All About NACTO’s Urban Street Stormwater Guide

The National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) is a coalition of America’s largest cities committed to building safe, sustainable transportation systems and active cities through better street design and transportation policy. NACTO has established itself as a leader in changing the way our streets operate for people regardless of transportation choice and has assembled... More

Treequake: A seismic shift in San Francisco urban forestry

Starting July 1, 2017, the City of San Francisco will start doing something it hasn’t done since the 1970s: take responsibility for all the trees in the public right-of-way. San Francisco cut funding to urban forestry in the late 1970s, resulting in a handoff of responsibility to adjacent property owners for two thirds of the... More

Revisiting the street trees of Marquette and 2nd

Nearly eight years ago, we installed a large Silva Cell system along 48 blocks of downtown Minneapolis. Called Marquette and 2nd (MARQ2), this green stormwater infrastructure project is in an ultra-urban, mixed-use area that needed to accommodate mass transit, cars, and pedestrians. The designers (SEH and URS) specified Silva Cells for stormwater management in addition... More