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Urban Soundscapes: Creating Quiet Spaces in a Roaring City

The sounds of the city are adored by some as a source of energy and excitement – the hustle and bustle of people crowding the sidewalks accented by cars and buses whooshing past. Dogs bark, people shout, music plays from a window, and somewhere (hopefully in the distance) a siren wails. These noises are as... More

Preserving Trees on a Development Site: Contractor’s Best Practices

Good design preserves existing trees during a development project. However, the most tree-sensitive design will not be enough if tree-friendly building practices are not in place. Many times a tree that was damaged during development may not show symptoms of decline for a few years, so the cause and effect is often not obvious, unless... More

Leeds’ Urban Renewal Brings Trees to the City Centre
Silva Cell Case Study

The City of Leeds, located in West Yorkshire, is the second largest legal and financial centre in the UK, as well as one of its most rapidly growing cities. In recent years, Leeds’ City Council has undertaken major urban renewal and redevelopment initiatives to help strengthen the local economy and to continue to develop the... More

LID Design Considerations for an Uncertain Climate Future

Historically, the best way to plan for future storms has been to look at the past. Significant effort has been put into to developing long-term rainfall records, and many of the most complex stormwater models are designed to run simulations that represent decades of rainfall data. But a changing climate means that storm patterns are... More

Two New Tools for Planning a Healthy Urban Canopy

Trees are a vital part of urban communities, providing social, environmental, and economic benefits. However, the urban environment is a difficult one for most trees due to the added stresses of soil compaction and lack of available soil, among many other challenges. Once established, their success is often further complicated by infrastructure conflicts and maintenance... More

Urban Soil Assessment and Reuse 
Part 2: Soil Assessment Methods

This is the second of a two-part series about urban soil assessment and reuse. Read part 1 here. While the types of questions one might ask about urban soils are somewhat similar to the questions an agricultural soil scientist might ask about farm soils, the methods to get information is dramatically different. Urban soils are... More

Urban Soil Assessment and Reuse
Part 1: Soil Properties

A critical part of any landscape architect’s training is to learn how to understand the site conditions before starting the design. There is likely nothing more important than soil to the success of anything placed on it or planted into it. Urban sites, and thus urban soil, make up a large part of the work... More

A multi-pronged approach to stormwater management

As engineers and landscape architects working in the built environment, we are increasingly faced with retrofit situations that must work with and around a variety of existing conditions and constraints. As stormwater requirements increase, requiring more storage or larger footprints, we must think creatively to locate and design systems to fit into an already constrained... More

Episode 8: Seeing the forest and the trees

Today marks the eighth and final episode of season 1 of Remarkable Objects (sob). Since this podcast is all about the intersection of nature and the urban environment, I wanted to use this last episode to talk about engaging ordinary citizens to create a better urban forest. As much as policies and regulations shape our... More

An Introduction to Placemaking

Public space is more than just a pleasant amenity in our towns and cities, it is an important connection between our homes, businesses, institutions, and the rest of the world. It’s where we bump into each other and wave hello. It’s also where nearly half of violent crimes happen (Bureau of Justice Statistics), where people... More