Revitalizing Orange CBD: The Impact of Stratavault Tree Planting
About the Project
The last significant upgrade of the Orange CBD was undertaken in the 1990s. Since then, the way people and communities engage with the CBD and retail sectors has changed and evolved. The community asked for more places where they can gather and spend their time in attractive, fun spaces.
The concept plan for Lords Place South aims to make the city center more attractive and pedestrian friendly. The proposals include doubling the number of trees, introducing eight raised platforms for outdoor seating and dining, and creating nine new open space areas with trees, shade, and seating. Improved street lighting is planned to boost the nighttime economy.
With these tree plantings the number of car parking spaces in the area would be reduced by a third, from 67 to 44 to accommodate these changes
Initially, there were 16 trees in Lords Place South; however, due to the new construction, and review of the current trees it was decided that 10 of them need to be removed. Similar to other trees in urban inner-city areas, the existing trees in Lords Place South encounter difficulties as their roots are largely covered by concrete and bitumen. Additionally, being planted in structural soil restricts the growth potential of their roots.
A huge community concern around the tree planting was the transition from a car-focused street to a pedestrian-focused street and the loss of car park space for businesses. Citygreen were able to mitigate the loss of car parking space by double planting of trees diagonally in line with the space of the carparks. These trees share the same treepit, an advantage of sharing the same treepit is that less soil volume is needed per tree overall as there is an overlap in soil use. At completion of the project there is now a total of 28 trees in Lords Place South.
The presence of existing underground utilities posed a significant risk to the project. However, with the modular design and large void spaces of the Stratavault system, the matrix can easily be built around utilities with minimal changes to the design; making Stratavault system the ideal solution.
As part of the FutureCity program, new trees have been planted in Citygreens Stratavault matrix. These soil cells prevent the roots from spreading and causing damage to nearby infrastructure such as roads and underground utilities while providing the tree with optimal soil volume and compaction to ensure ideal growing conditions.
Another advantage of using Stratavault in busy urban areas like Lords Place is that the 100% recycled plastic modules are weight-bearing and designed to be trafficable, meaning cars can park safely alongside the trees without harming their roots. This approach helps minimize the loss of parking spaces, as the trees can be strategically positioned to maximize parking availability along the street. Additionally, the Stratavault Matrixes are connected to the city’s stormwater channels, allowing the trees to thrive by intercepting water runoff that would normally enter the city’s infrastructure and be taken out of the area.
There are a few main benefits when considering this approach:
- Sustainable water utilization: The connected system allows for the harvesting and utilization of rainwater for irrigation purposes. This reduces reliance on municipal water sources and promotes water conservation.
- Phytoremediation: Tree roots and soil microorganisms help remove pollutants, sediment, and nutrients from the water, improving its quality.
- Enhanced urban cooling: As the trees in the Stratavault system receive ample water, they can provide better shade and cooling effects in urban environments. This helps mitigate the urban heat island effect and creates more comfortable outdoor spaces for residents and pedestrians.
- Stormwater Management: Storage of water in high rain events helps to reduce demand on city infrastructure.
“It’s a great experience for our city as a whole to understand where the future of tree planting in heavily civil constructed areas can be going with cells in the ground.”
Manager City Presentation
Orange City Council
Orange City Council is taking a comprehensive approach to their green-blue urban initiatives, recognizing the valuable role of trees in enhancing the space through aesthetics, mitigating the urban heat island effect with shade and leaf transpiration, and optimizing stormwater management processes by integrating natural processes.
The success of Stratavault soil cells for trees in other locations in Orange, like Kite Street and McNamara Street, demonstrates Orange’s commitment to improving the CBD’s green urban spaces. This ongoing effort aims to attract more residents and workers to the city center while reducing reliance on cars for transportation.
We’re excited to keep an eye on how these trees grow and how the trees will help the CBD evolve the community experience.