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Justin Kern_CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Why are Cities Using Green Streets for Stormwater Management?

Urban stormwater management and surface water quality protection is a decades old field of science and engineering. Engineers in the field are largely focused on mitigating the impacts of impervious surfaces like roads, sidewalks, parking lots and rooftops in urban areas to protect aquatic habitat and species, reduce drinking water treatment costs, and comply with... More
Boise Streetscape

Revitalizing Boise Using Green Stormwater Infrastructure

Since 2009, the City of Boise has implemented 28 projects to revitalize historic downtown in a healthy and sustainable way. By adopting innovative and cost-effective solutions to long-standing challenges such as stormwater management and low tree canopy cover, Boise has emerged as a leader in green stormwater infrastructure. In the past, the city struggled to... More
Engineering for Change_CC BY-SA 2.0

Your Biochar Questions, Answered

In previous blog posts we discussed the history of biochar, we offered our thoughts on its possible application, and examined potential controversies. Most recently, we interviewed Kelby Fite about his work with biochar and held a webinar to discuss what designers need to know about the product. The following post is a collection of questions... More
How do soil microbes affect health and nutrient availability

How Do Soil Microbes Affect Soil Health and Nutrient Availability?

Soil is essential to life. That’s why we hear more every day about the microbes that inhabit soil1. What many don’t realize, however, is that those microbes are related to the emerging field of “soil health.” Microbes also affect how soils are tested in laboratories. This topic has captured the attention of farmers, scientists and... More
Geary-Japantown 1970s

Look for the Silver Lining
Interview with San Francisco’s Urban Forester

Chris Buck works for San Francisco Public Works, which regulates the planting, care and removal for sidewalk and median trees in the city.  After serving as an inspector for the last eight years, he is now the Urban Forester. Chris often volunteers for the Western Chapter ISA and California Arborist Association and is a judge of... More
Old Cattle Market

Tree Observation for Non-Professionals

A few weeks ago we published a post about 13 steps to evaluate trees. It was written by a longtime contributor to this blog, Peter MacDonagh, who is an arborist, horticulturalist, adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota, and Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects. Some people in our community took issue with... More
Combined Sewer Overflow discharge point_ehplen

A Cooling Tool for CSO Hot Spots

There are many significant benefits to an MS4 (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System) approach to managing urban stormwater. Many newer cities are fortunate to have such a system in place, but a great many don’t. Instead, they have a combined sewer system (CSS) where the same set of pipes handles both stormwater runoff and waste... More
Luke Jones

“It’s Different Here”
Maria D’Agostino on Alaskan Urban Forestry

Maria D’Agostino is a Community Forester and Consulting Arborist. After many years of learning and sharing urban forest practices in the San Francisco Bay Area, she moved to Alaska when the Municipality of Anchorage hired her to be their Municipal Forester. Later, she started her own consulting practice to help Alaskans understand the value and... More

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