Another Trip Around The Sun

Flickr credit: Mista Sparkle

We’re here again. That time of year when everyone seems to look around and experience mild confusion over the rapid passing of days, weeks, and months that has just occurred. It’s a time of gathering with family and friends, and of reflecting on both the good and the bad of the past year. 

A big focus for us this year was soil volume minimums for trees, which is a topic we cover regularly: everything from a list of cities that have them, to the lessons people who have implemented them have learned, to how research compares to actual implementation. This will continue to be a focus for us. We believe it’s one of the most important tools we have for guaranteeing a diverse, mature urban forest.

We’re pushing harder and harder on the incredible value that the combination of trees, soil, and stormwater provide in the built environment – this great trifecta of green utilities. On the blog, we’ve tackled this with posts on bioretention and nutrient removal (parts one, two, and three), a discussion of the costs and benefits of green roofs, and a case study of a big plaza project where Silva Cells were used to meet local stormwater requirements in California. On a related note, we’ve seen far more Silva Cell stormwater projects this year than ever before.

We’re also becoming much more involved in providing services through our Urban Solutions arm. Three projects in particular come to mind where we supplied technical consulting and stormwater infrastructure design services: a large streetscape in Calgary, AB, and smaller streetscapes in Regina, SK and in Burlington, VT.

Of course, there are also areas for improvement. As a recent webinar made abundantly clear, the integration of Silva Cells with underground utilities continues to be a challenge for designers, municipalities, and utility providers who want to meet the needs of both trees and construction. The good news is that there are many, many ways to address utilities, but we need to do a better job getting the word out about what they are (contact with questions!).

We also want to do continued monitoring of trees in Silva Cells. The Bartlett urban plaza study continues to show strong performance by suspended pavement (as does the oldest suspended pavement project in the United States). We want to make sure those promising early results bear out over the long term, as we believe they will, and to quantify the stormwater management and quality benefits with real scientific results from our collaboration with North Caroline State University.

Starting on December 17th we’ll be reprinting some old favorite blog entries to wind up the year. For now, I want to extend our deep thanks and gratitude to everyone who we have worked with to further the cause and acceptance of green utilities in cities and towns across the world. Like all of you, we’re excited to see what 2013 will bring.

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