ARTICLE: Green Infrastructure – Role Trees Play in Urban Ecosystems



Forests Not Just for Tree Huggers in Metro Vancouver 

“Urban trees have popular appeal and are also highly regulated. Most cities have bylaws that protect mature trees from being cut down and dictate how many trees must accompany new development. There is also increasing research and awareness around the role trees play in urban ecosystems and infrastructure,” wrote Wendy Stueck in an article published in the Globe & Mail newspaper in August 2012. 


Benefits of Green Infrastructure

Wendy Stueck interviewed Kim Stephens, Executive Director of the Partnership for Water Sustainability in BC, to learn about the benefits and green infrastructure.

“For the past decade, Kim Stephens has been talking to municipal staff and politicians in B.C. about ‘green infrastructure’ – using trees and permeable landscaping to help absorb rainwater, restore streams and make neighbourhoods more attractive and possibly healthier,” wrote Wendy Stueck.

“We’ve moved from ‘Why should we do things?’ to ‘How do we do things?’” said Mr. Stephens. “That was a fundamental shift.”


UniverCity Leads Way with Next Generation of Green Infrastructure Innovation

“In the Lower Mainland, that shift has come in part through test cases such as Univercity, a 10-year-old housing development at Simon Fraser University that features a stormwater management system that diverts almost all rainwater to the ground rather than into conventional drain pipes or storm sewers,” reported Wendy Stueck.

“The UniverCity system balances storage on private development parcels, on-street storage and downstream detention using a full range of best management practices, ranging from in-building cisterns, to absorptive landscape soils, to constructed wetlands,” explained Kim Stephens.

“The system has worked as intended, providing reassurance to planners as they weigh cost and liability concerns,” stated Wendy Stueck.


To Learn More:

To read the complete article as published in the Globe & Mail newspaper, click on Forests not just for tree huggers in Vancouver

For more information on the sustainable community at Simon Fraser University atop Burnaby Mountain, click on UniverCity Leads Way with Next Generation of Green Infrastructure Innovation