The challenges of combining green, blue and grey infrastructures:
Lack of space
Every inch of the city has already been claimed by various functions; road foundation, sewer systems, parking places, utilities etc. With only small spaces available, highly effective soil volume is needed to ensure that trees will grow into big trees.
Utilities running everywhere
When you want to plant a tree in the city, there may be existing utilities located in the same area as your planned digging. And not always where you expect them to be. Relocating those utilities is not budgeted for and it is therefore most cost-effective if the tree pit can integrate with the utilities as they are.
Road building specifications
Trees need loose, well aerated soil in contrast to road building which needs highly compacted soil. Trees attempting to grow in compacted soil rarely meet their full growth potential and may die prematurely or damage the pavement while trying to survive.
Disturbed water cycle
Urban soil and trees are drying out while we are channelling water away via sewer systems. This is a principle that is often applied. It makes more sense to first let the tree benefit from the rain before it drains away. There is a need for solutions that are based on circular rather than linear processes.
Because of these harsh conditions in the city, we have to try and create the most ideal situation for the tree. The time for mono-functional use of space has passed.