Soils in the City


Chicago's Millennium Park

Cities are often thought of as concrete jungles. But under all that concrete is a whole lot of soil: complex mixtures of minerals, water, air, and organic matter that perform many critical functions.

We build on top of soil, we grow grass and gardens in it, we depend on it to filter pollutants and capture runoff. Yet soils in cities have often been neglected.

That’s now changing. As our world becomes increasingly urbanized, there is growing recognition among scientists, city planners, and urban gardeners that city soils require just as much attention and care as those in our farmlands.

Explore these pages to learn more about the roles that soils play in cities, and how you can help protect and nurture this vital urban resource.

Photo: Gardens in Chicago's Millennium Park (courtesy of Mike Mertz)

 

 

 

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Soils in the City News


West Virginia Water Research Institute sample of Elk and Coal River sediment
January 04, 2017

Jennifer Weidhaas was teaching in West Virginia on January 9, 2014 when about 10,000 gallons of chemicals leaked into the Elk River. The concrete...

X-ray fluorescence device in use
November 02, 2016

Name a current environmental challenge. Global climate change? Loss of endangered species? What about soil contamination?

Soil pollution...

Installation of bioreactor
July 13, 2016

Water quality scientist Laura Christianson is working on a solution to the “dead zone”—an area with dangerously low levels of...

Examining triclosan extracts from plant tissues, Texas A&M
May 25, 2016

Most U.S. homes are full of familiar household products with an ingredient that fights bacteria: triclosan. Triclosan seems to be everywhere. When...