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The Connective Power of Public Space

Introduction Physical public spaces have for decades been important features of urban living, community centerpieces that provide a number of concurrent benefits – from health advantages to spurring economic revitalization and increased home values. If anything, the technological and medical conditions of modern life – from social media and virtual meetings to the Covid-19 pandemic… More

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Urban Biodiversity: The Future of Conservation

Cities at the Forefront Biodiversity, the mix of animal and plant species in a given region, is an important measure of environmental health and a crucial component of conservation efforts. Traditional thinking on biodiversity has viewed cities as its antithesis — a disturbance to the natural environment where life organically thrives. And there’s no doubt… More

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Maximizing Urban Space: Creativity and Innovation in Stormwater Management

Introduction Green infrastructure has become a widely adopted component of stormwater treatment initiatives across the globe — but can GI be integrated even in the tightest-space built environments, where numerous priorities are competing for the same area? Yes! With a little creative design and the right strategic partners, GI can be utilized in just about… More

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City Trees: Majestic Life Savers

Introduction A red maple tree rises forty feet above the park across the street from my Minneapolis house, a centerpiece around which the children play in its ubiquitous shade. For decades it’s been anchoring the neighborhood’s busiest intersection, its flourishing canopy providing coverage for both the grassy park and its adjacent streets. Few would argue… More

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Compaction and Sand-Based Structural Soil (SBSS)

There are many factors that contribute to the failure of urban trees, and many are related to soil issues, such as lack of viable soil, soil volume, and compaction. For my entire career, Landscape Architects have been working with Soil Scientists, Engineers, and Arborists to design urban tree planting techniques to meet specific horticultural, structural,… More

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Green Space as Social Infrastructure

Introduction What are the benefits of city trees? One of the first (and most reasonable) responses is that they have a positive environmental impact: not only do mature trees sequester atmospheric carbon, but they improve air quality and assist in stormwater treatment. Trees likewise have an important economic influence, reducing energy usage by providing natural… More

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Urban Tree Equity: The Drive to Fair Access

Introduction As the sun blazes on another hot summer day, the thermometer on the east side of town is likely to display the same number as its counterpart three miles west — but this doesn’t tell the whole story. The way we experience heat, particularly in developed urban areas, is influenced by a number of… More

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The Limitations of Structural Soil: Why It’s Not the Best Solution for Expanding Total Soil Volume

Introduction The space constraints of dense city environments present a challenge for project planners implementing an urban forestry element. There are, however, a number of solutions to help improve conditions for healthy tree growth. The Silva Cells are one such choice, a suspended-pavement system allowing for maximum soil volume. Another option is structural soil —… More

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Comparing Silva Cells and Structural Soil

We get asked to compare Silva Cells to CU Soil with some frequency. It’s a comparison that we always hesitate to make, because to us it’s really a case of apples and oranges. While they may seem to be solutions to the same challenges, there are some very significant differences that affect their value and performance for tree growth… More

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Silva Cells Support Trees at Bomber Command Memorial

Introduction “The fighters are our salvation but the bombers alone provide the means of victory.” Winston Churchill’s words from September 1940 were prophetic, an early forecast of the indispensable role these aircraft would play in the triumph over Nazism in World War II. Dedicated to the courageous veterans of the Bomber Command, a bronze memorial… More

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