Advanced Tree Pit Design Enhances Urban Forestry

Citygreen - Advanced Tree Pit Design Enhances Urban Forestry

With increasing urbanization, and more highly concentrated populations within cities, strengthening the green infrastructure is becoming increasingly important. One of the largest opportunities for impact is maintaining and enhancing the urban canopy. This is addressed most readily by advanced tree pit design, which refers to the subterranean structures put in place during planting.

In Minneapolis, the local government conducted research that revealed well-planted trees provide a strong financial incentive in addition to the ecosystem benefits. The research found a $2 million savings between a storm water conveyance system, or subterranean cell systems.

Peter MacDonagh, a landscape architect, said in an ASLA interview, “larger, older trees are far more valuable than younger ones, so work needs to be done to preserve these and use new techniques to enable younger trees to stay in place longer.”

As trees were planted in the past, the soil they were placed in was compacted, causing a lack of nutrients, storm water management, and root establishment. As a result, the trees struggle to thrive and provide their benefits to the local environment and infrastructure. Often, these struggling trees will either die, stop growing, or begin to push through and ruin sidewalks and roads.

The Center for Urban Forest Research calculates that large-canopy trees …outperform small trees…and they do not start adding significant environmental performance until they reach 30 feet,” states Matthew Gordy, a landscape and urban design professional.

By utilizing cell systems, the strain put on the trees’ growth is almost completely eliminated, resulting in lower costs, and increased shade, stormwater management, and overall well being of the populaces and local infrastructure.

Get more information on advanced soil cell systems here.

Community Gardens Spreading Around Australia

Citygreen - Community Gardens Spreading Around Australia

Image from Victoria Harbour.

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Bringing Kids Back to Nature

project wild thing - bringing kids back to nature

Image from Project Wild Thing

 

A report called Sowing the Seeds, Reconnecting London’s Children with Nature for the London Sustainable Development Commission, shows how “giving children access to nature promotes their mental and emotional well-being and may have a positive effect on the behaviour of some children”.

It said that too many of London’s children “have little or no meaningful contact with natural places in the city”. Because of this, the kids maybe be denied “the many and varied benefits that experiences in nature bring; experiences that many adults understand at a deep emotional level from their own childhood memories”.

The report said because of this lack of connection with nature, kids may grow up “indifferent to nature and unsupportive of the need for environmental stewardship”.

It has several recommendations that should be implemented over the years to “have the potential to make a real difference to children’s relationship with the natural world”.

It recommends that schools and early years settings give greater emphasis to offering children engaging everyday nature experiences within their grounds. “This should be done through the creation of natural play spaces and more extensive and easily accessible habitat areas.”

“Two thirds of London’s area is made up of green spaces or water, and 10 percent is designated as Metropolitan Open Land, yet children’s experiences of natural places in the capital have been in long-term decline, as a result of societal changes that have been unfolding for many years.”

Although London is quite a green city, its “green spaces are not uniformly distributed, and many parts of the city are deficient.” The report said that one third of families visit natural places every two months. One in seven had not made a single visit for a year. This statistic is also worse with children from poorer families.

“Initiatives are fragmented, and grappling with complex issues and challenges.” The report said that only four percent of London’s children are being reached by existing initiatives.

Some of the suggestions from the report include creating natural habitats or wildlife area on school grounds, the establishment of forest schools, the increase of natural conservation projects, and the creation of ‘natural play’ approach to the design of public play areas in parks and green spaces. Other initiatives include community-based projects, city farms, community gardens, horticultural projects, after-school programmes, play ranger schemes and so on.

A campaign called Project Wild Thing is pushing for parents to turn screen time into “wild time” playing and enjoying nature outdoors. The project is a film led movement to get more kids and adults outside, reconnecting with nature. The project, which started in 2010, has gained a growing following and has become a movement of organisations and individuals who share the same passion for the cause.

According to a report from Western Gazette in the UK, Camp Bestival has teamed up with the campaign to “help adults and children reconnect with nature” while being entertained. Camp Bestival runs from July 31 to August 3 at Lulworth Castle, Dorset.

Project Wild Thing’s David Bond told the Western Gazette that the campaign is all about how children need to get outdoors and into nature.

“We’re really passionate about connecting young people and adults with the outdoors because it makes them fitter, it makes them healthier, it makes them happier and it makes them develop better.”

Citygreen Stratacell Video

Being a Tree City USA

Being a Tree City USA

 

The Tree City USA national program continues to grow, with more cities joining the effort to become a green community.

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Painting Canada’s Towns Green

Painting Canada’s Towns Green

Image credit.

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