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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Silva Cells - How Shoreline Is Using Them to Make Aurora Truly "Green"

Photo credit-City of Shoreline
Recent Installation of Silva Cell Sub-structure. 
These "cells" provide "breathing room for street trees
Photo shows site on
N 175th next to Grease Monkey and Jerseys Grill
(businesses here and on Aurora ARE OPEN during construction!)

photo credit- Janet Way
Mark Relph - Shoreline Public Works Director

Mark Relph, Shoreline's Director of Public Works stood next to the recent installation site of Silva Cells and made this statement about the Silva Cell technology and Shoreline's Capital Improvements on the Aurora Project:
it is an important goal of the City to maximize the opportunities for improving water quality from street runoff and to improve our tree canopy within the City. The silva cell concept is a unique opportunity to do both; water moves through the system, absorbed and filtered by the trees and media, less discharge to traditional piped systems, plus allows a more suitable space for trees roots to expand and grow. The result is higher water quality, less runoff downstream of the improvements and a healthier, larger tree canopy.

Shoreline's Aurora Project Phase II is the largest ever usage of Silva Cell technology in WA State.  Silva Cells provide a new concept in street tree installation.  

The structures provide adequate space for street trees to grow and thrive, and the associated "permeable" sidewalks above the cells allow rain to penetrate into the root structure of the trees. This prevents the usual "buckling" of sidewalks. which often leads to destruction of the trees when sidewalks need to be replaced.

Photo shows Silva Cell section after it's filled with gravel
N 175th Silva Cell and Sidewalk installation process 
just down the street from Shoreline's City Hall
photo credit-Janet Way

Construction Worker sorts Silva Cell pieces for eventual installation
photo credit-Janet Way

The roots of trees can push sidewalks out of position, and the gravel-heavy aggregate that supports traffic above them compacts soil, stifling root growth and limiting their ability to absorb storm-water runoff. DeepRoot's Silva Cell is an underground framework made of glass-reinforced polypropylene and packed with nutrient-rich soil. The technology allows roots to spread even if the tree is surrounded by asphalt, making the system a smart choice for a developer planning a city promenade or a homeowner planting shade for a garden patio. 

Another article from ArborAge Magazine

Business Access signs are included as Policy Goals as a part of the Aurora Project Phase II
photo shows trench being dug for installation of Silva Cells next to new City Hall
photo credit-Janet Way

Shoreline provided a diagram of how the street tree systems are planned in this location.

Siva Cell Street Tree Technology Plan

photo credit-Silva Cell
Installation of street trees in Silva Cell project in Minneapolis

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, I work at Deep Root Partners -- the designers of the Silva Cell. Thanks for this great coverage of the Aurora Shoreline project! We're thrilled to be able to be a part of it.

    I just wanted to point out quickly that many of the links in this article take you to the page of GreenMax, one of our European Distributors. While we do work with GreenMax, DeepRoot is headquartered in San Francisco. The majority of our installations to date have occurred in North America, primarily the United States and Canada. We also have some installations in Europe. You can see our complete project map here: