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Stratacell praised in Bankstown CBD upgrade



Stratacell praised in Bankstown CBD upgrade
by Sally Cameron

Seven years since its completion, the Bankstown City Council CBD streetscape upgrade has been heralded an enduring success. In 2008, both the CBD Bus Corridor and Transport Interchange were refurbished with a reconfigured street layout and circulation, new granite pavements, street furniture, and trees. The project won first prize in the Local Government / Public works category of the 2009 Engineering Excellence Awards of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia NSW (IPWEA), and also first prize in the Cement and Concrete Association of Australia (CCAA) 2009 Public Domain for Streetscape.

Street trees used were a combination of Pyrus calleryana ‘Bradford’, Lagerstroemia indica ‘Tuscarora’ and Fraxinus pennsylvatica ‘Urbanite’, and were planted using the Citygreen structural soil cells system. This was the first structural soil cell project installation for the Council, with Citygreen on-hand to assist contractors, ensuring installation and planting were done correctly.


Each tree pit was linked by a linear trench backfilled with media suitable for optimum tree growth, allowing sub-soil drainage and passive irrigation. The Council also invested in tree grates and guards to enhance the prestige of the tree planting, selecting the heelsafe Duraplate in Paseo design for top plate, and a custom vase-shaped tree guard in ‘Bronze’ finish to protect the tree trunks and increase tree presence.

Emily Forrest, Landscape Architect in the Sustainable Development Unit at Bankstown City Council, said, “The combination of both these details has resulted in healthy trees that have performed well, are in optimal condition, and provide high amenity value as urban tree assets. As a result, Council has since leveraged the Citygreen Stratacell product in multiple streetscape projects.”

One such example is the advanced street tree planting works in nearby South Terrace / Chapel Road South, known locally as Saigon Place. Twelve 200 litre advanced Sapium Sebiferum were planted within the widened footway, and – like the Bankstown project – were linked by a trench allowing optimal lateral root growth, sub-soil draining, and passive irrigation. Planted in 2010, these Chinese Tallows are now strong, healthy, and show excellent growth vigour and form.


Council has again specified Citygreen Stratacells in the Fetherstone Street project, which is currently under construction. Unlike Bankstown and Saigon Place, the cells are located within a trafficable parking lane rather than a pedestrian footway. Stratacell is up to the job though, being the strongest module of its kind globally by a significant margin. Fetherstone Street will only have four advanced Ulmus parvifolia ‘Todd’ as feature specimens, so Council has specified Stratacell knowing that it will enable these trees to quickly establish and reach the desired raised canopy.

Emily Forrest concluded by describing the original Bankstown project as, “…a leap of faith which has definitely worked out for us. All of the trees planted using the Stratacell system are looking fantastic.”

Trees Outperform in Mill Woods Parking Lot

Mill Woods - June, 2015

Trees Outperform in Mill Woods Parking Lot

Mill Woods is a purpose-designed community in Edmonton Canada, which showcases successful urban growth achieved via sound principles of social, economic, and physical planning. In 2012, the City of Edmonton partnered with international architecture firm Stantec and Heritage Nurseries of Alberta to create a new parking lot with feature trees for shade and aesthetic appeal.

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Mill Woods – June, 2012

With an important recreational lake adjacent, the goal was to utilize tree pits that would not only ensure the healthy growth of trees, but also provide a filtered retention area for stormwater which would then be channeled into the nearby lake.

Citygreen consultant Kirsty McIntyre said Citygreen’s Stratacell modules were identified as the ideal solution, “…due to their high load bearing qualities ideal for the parking lot asphalt and large void areas. This application increased the soil volume for the trees and allowed for stormwater retention. Separately, the fact that the modules are made from 100% recycled polymers, a clear environmental advantage, also appealed.”


Mill Woods – August, 2013

Not all trees in the parking lot were planted using the Stratacell system, so three years down the track, the benefits experienced by the trees are clear to see. “The results of this project have been excellent. I’ve been monitoring these trees for the past three years and the trees are healthy and establishing well,” says McIntyre.

“There is a noticeable difference in fullness and height comparatively to the trees planted in a soft landscaped area. The soft landscape trees have branches growing in more erratic patterns, and overall do not have a full appearance, probably due to poor drainage and oxygenation as a result of compacted soil. On the other hand, the trees planted using the Stratacell system feature lush, full foliage, and an encouraging uniformity in the branches filling out.”


Mill Woods – June, 2015

McIntyre concluded by saying, “This is a clear example of Citygreen working to provide a long-term solution, rather than a short-term fix. The trees speak for themselves, with the nearby lake also benefiting from filtered stormwater.”

Pedestrians Saved by Trees in Gawler


Pedestrians Saved by Trees in Gawler
By Kristyn M. Levis


Various towns are recognising the benefits of shared spaces as well as increasing their urban canopy. The local government in Gawler, South Australia is among those implementing new efforts to improve their cities.

The Murray Street Project Stage 4 included the widening of the footpath on the western side of Murray Street (between Bridge Street and Walker Place). The Town of Gawler 10 Year Infrastructure Asset Work Plan includes the construction, rehabilitation and maintenance of roads, bridges, kerbs, gutters, footpaths, street assets, street lighting, stormwater, buildings and open spaces.

According to the council’s Traffic and Transport Management Plan, the “traffic calming devices implemented along Murray Street as part of its upgrades program has reduced the 85th percentile speed of vehicles (below 40km/h on Murray Street)”. The council has implemented mid-block pedestrian refuges and associated kerbside extensions with pram ramps.

“While these crossings do not legally require vehicles to give way to pedestrians, they promote lower vehicle speeds by narrowing the roadway, thereby improving pedestrian safety and connectivity,” the plan said.

They are considering the future implementation of a 40km/h speed limit along Murray Street to provide “a formalised low speed environment 24/7 and promote the town centre as a pedestrian friendly area”.

Murray St Stage 4 Tree Planting 002

Gary Kerr, Depot Coordinator for the Town of Gawler in South Australia, managed the tree planting in the area for the stage four project in June 2013. He also completed the same tree-planting project in stage one of the Murray Street footpath upgrade in September 2008.

The project included the planting of two trees at each pedestrian crossing in Murray Street. There were two crossings in stage one and two crossings in stage four. The tree planting project budget for materials only was around $10,000.

“The crossings are in the centre of the roadway and the material we had to plant the trees into was highly compacted due to an old railway line that used to go through the main street years ago,” Kerr said.

Murray St Stage 4 Tree Planting 010

In 2008, Kerr and his team approached Arborgreen for their assistance to see what’s in the market to suit the project’s needs. The Citygreen Stratacell system was recommended as there was no other system that suited the circumstances quite well.

“With the strength of the pods being able to place in the roadway and allowing the air space for the tree roots, it suited this situation with the compacted base material,” he said.

The team used a similar system from Arborgreen in stage one of the project “with good results and outcomes”. Aside from the Stratacells, the project also used root barrier, geotextile, tree grates, primary and secondary root ball irrigation system, steel tree guards and hydro-cell soil.

Murray St Stage 4 Tree Planting 018

“The soil volume was the main issue along with compaction and also where they are positioned in the road corridor. The Stratacell system catered for all our requirements especially soil volume. The design was exactly what we needed,” Kerr said.

There were no serious issues encountered during the project. The only issue was in terms of traffic management as the trees were planted in the middle of the roadway.

“Everything went smoothly. We had to do the construction work overnight because of the large volume of traffic that use Murray Street. Rod Gooden from Arborgreen was onsite with both projects and was very helpful in assisting me with the installation,” he said.

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They found the Citygreen Stratacell system to be very easy to install. “The key is to have good plant operators that can dig to correct depths and levels,” Kerr said.

They didn’t include rainwater harvesting in the design because of the project’s position on the roadway. They had a ring feed watering system, which the staff hand-watered when needed. This was the only option they had to water the trees on the site.

With their experience using the system on the Murray Street project, Kerr said there is no reason why they wouldn’t use the same system in future projects. Today, the trees are looking great from both projects in 2008 and 2013.

Citygreen teams with Lend Lease, PWP, and JPW to deliver modular Stratavault system at Barangaroo

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© artist’s impression of central barangaroo, virtual ideas pty ltd, april 2014. subject to planning approval_thumb_800

Citygreen teams with Lend Lease, PWP, and JPW to deliver modular Stratavault system at Barangaroo
Release: 29 April 2015

Barangaroo was a vacant 22 hectare former container wharf on the western harbour foreshore of the Sydney CBD. A $6 billion transformation of Barangaroo is well underway and will transform Sydney’s position as a financial services hub in the Asia Pacific by generating jobs, boosting the economy, and providing a new place to live, work, and visit. Barangaroo will feature 75,000 trees, plants, and shrubs, planted using Citygreen’s modular Stratavault system.

Opening in July, Barangaroo Point is a sprawling six-hectare harbour foreshore park allowing visitors to soak up the action on Sydney Harbour while revelling in lush naturalistic parkland. Providing space for recreation, expression, celebration, and community, it features bush walks, grassed areas, lookouts, walking and cycle paths, a cultural centre, and an underground 300-space car park.


An international tender process was held for the park’s design in 2009/2010 with Johnson Pilton Walker in association with Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architecture, landing the contract. The team’s winning design juxtaposed a rugged sandstone topography inspired by the naturalistic pre-1836 shoreline of the historic Port Jackson area, against a flourishing and modern CBD. A disused shipping container yard is now one of Sydney’s most stunning green headlands, visually linking the headland archipelagos of Balls Head, Goat Island, and Ballast Point.

Incorporating native Sydney plants such as large Angophoras, Banksias, and Port Jackson and Moreton Bay fig trees, the vegetation element follows very strictly on the vocabulary of the natural bush when the Aboriginal Gadigal people were living there.


Today, trees in cities are a very desirable, hugely beneficial part of our lives. But providing enough uncompacted, quality soil beneath pavements for trees in urban areas is a challenge. Citygreen was engaged to solve this problem by implementing its modular Stratavault system. The system employs advanced design geometry and reinforced copolymers to produce an incredibly robust, skeletal matrix; providing adequate support for pavement loads. Barangaroo Central will consist of 7492 Stratavault units (approximately 2000m2), allowing trees to thrive naturally for the enjoyment of park users. A tree-lined promenade, also planted using the Stratavault system, will be a prominent feature linking Barangaroo Point to Barangaroo South.


Peter Walker, Landscape Architect and Lead Designer, said, “One of the elements of the harbour headlands is that in their natural form they were examples of the bush. They still play a strong part of this symbolic meaning of the Sydney Cove area so we were determined to recreate that rich, complicated and more interesting plant composition for the forum of the headland, while adding a dimension of naturalness to the overall park.”

For more information on Citygreen’s Stratavault system, download the technical brochure.

For an interactive tour of Barangaroo, visit www.barangaroo.com.

Binding Old and New at Lansdowne Park


Binding Old and New at Lansdowne Park – Ottawa, Canada
By Kristyn M. Levis

Ottawa’s Lansdowne Park has gone through extensive redevelopment with three major components that makes the venue a significant national and international attraction.

The revitalisation was planned early 2009 as part of a series of initiatives approved by the Ottawa Council. In June 2010, the council voted to continue the Lansdowne Partnership Plan (LPP), “an innovative and dynamic solution to redevelop Lansdowne Park” through a partnership of the city with the Ottawa Sports and Entertainment Group (OSEG).


Lansdowne Park is a world-class attraction that “blends modern amenities, courtyards, heritage buildings and green space”. The urban public destination, well situated in the heart of Ottawa, features events and activities for all ages and all seasons.

The new Lansdowne revitalisation is a “model of modern-day innovation in an urban form where people can go to walk, cycle, shop, enjoy a good meal, be entertained, work, live and play” in an environment respectful of the city’s architectural heritage.

The plan included the renovation of the TD Place stadium, mixed-use area with shops, residences and offices, and the 18-acre urban park.

PFS Studio LD Park

The main aim of the refurbished stadium is to “seamlessly integrate the facility into the new urban setting by using varied and natural features”. The TD Place Stadium features 24,000 seats and newly refurbished 10,000 seat indoor arena. It will host sports events, concerts and performances by headline acts. The first major park event in the renovated stadium was held in July this year.

The urban park redevelopment enabled Lansdowne Park to be “re-integrated with the Rideau Canal Corridor as the site once was connected historically”. The majority of the asphalt was removed and replaced with a “front lawn”, stretching across the eastern portion of the overall site along the Queen Elizabeth Driveway and the Rideau Canal. The urban park feature also incorporated the two heritage structures – the Horticulture Building and the Aberdeen Pavilion, as centrepieces for the park.

The proposed mixed-use area aims to create a “unique urban village that includes a mix of commercial and residential buildings, open spaces and corridors, which will serve a variety of purposes”.

“This component of the redevelopment plan provides a unique pedestrian environment focused on a retailing area that will complement and support activities at Lansdowne and be integrated with existing commercial uses along Bank Street,” the website said.

The mixed-use area also includes residential uses that integrate with the surrounding community and provide an 18-hour cycle of activity for the overall site.

Jeffrey Staates, partner at PFS Studio and project landscape architect for Lansdowne Park, has been involved with the project since 2010 and led the team for the international design competition. They were awarded the project in June 2010 and design started in July 2010.

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Staates said they were tasked with the redevelopment of the urban park. They refurbished the heritage building Horticulture Pavilion next to Aberdeen Square where the Citygreen modular Stratacell system was installed.

The system was included in the recommendation to pursue the largest soil volume possible from the standpoint of longevity. The major installation of soil cells was in the centre of Aberdeen Square, named after the heritage structure in the site.

“A good deal of the public realm is over slab. We wanted to provide structural stability while ensuring large soil volumes that would support large healthy trees,” Staates said.

The Aberdeen Pavilion is a city landmark with a capacity for 2,800 visitors. The Aberdeen Square north of the pavilion is home to Ottawa’s Farmer’s Market. The park features more than 800 trees, including an orchard of heirloom apple trees. The Horticulture building has also been revitalised for special events and community use.

Staates said he isn’t aware of any issues with the product during installation and after the project was finished. The only complications with the project were more in terms of jurisdiction. The team was obliged to consult with several organisations with lengthy approvals of plans and a number of jurisdictional reviews that had to be satisfied. But in the end, all bodies approved the use of the Stratacell system.


As for the integration of water harvesting, the design allowed for the collection of water from the roof of the horticulture building and recycling water from the water play area in the urban park and using that for irrigation at night.

The city’s Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services (PRCS) department is already scheduling a program of activities and events to suit the unique spaces in the Aberdeen Pavilion and the Horticulture Building.

Images provided by PFS Studio.
Regional Stocklist/Distributor  Greenblue Infrastructure Solutions (formerly Citygreen Urban Limited).

Tree renewal at a prestigious Victorian School


Tree renewal at a prestigious Victorian School keeps future bright for students
By Kristyn Levis


When one of the schools in Victoria needed to revamp its facilities, the architects had to find a robust soil cell that would suit the limited space of the project without compromising soil volumes for the trees.

The Citygreen modular Stratacell system is an all around product that ticked all of the requirements for this campus in Keilor East, Victoria.

The Penleigh and Essendon Grammar School project required the redevelopment of the Boys Middle School, which included a new facility and refurbishment to the existing classroom building.

Penleigh and Essendon Grammar is a Uniting Church School for boys and girls with campuses in Essendon, Moonee Ponds and Keilor East in Victoria. The school is the union of Penleigh Presbyterian Ladies’ College and Essendon Grammar School.

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Joshua Chia, Senior Landscape Architect from ACLA, was part of the design team for the project, including architects from McBride Charles Ryan. The design stage started in mid 2011 and construction began early 2012. The whole thing was completed by July 2013 with a landscape budget of around $400,000.

“The landscape scope included the main entry and courtyard design, providing active and passive recreational opportunities for students while facilitating access between the two buildings,” Chia said.

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He added that a double row of avenue of trees were proposed centrally within the courtyard to provide shade and cooling from the surrounding hardscape, while strengthening the orthogonal lines of the buildings, designed to reflect the principles of the Roman Forum.

“A super advanced feature tree (Brachychiton acerifolius) was proposed for the main entry as a focal point,” Chia said.

Because of the restricted space of the courtyard and its intended use in facilitating access and providing areas for ball games, Chia said the design had to be robust.

“Existing trees planted in small tree pits within the existing courtyard had damaged the pavement and become a safety issue. To allow for trees to be installed within pavement and become a major asset for the space, we felt the Stratacell system was the best solution in providing uncompacted soil around the trees while structurally supporting the pavement above,” Chia said.

Aside from the Stratacell system, the project also used Citygreen’s RootRain Precinct.


The RootRain Precinct and ArborVent kits are for central urban locations requiring a permanent irrigation/aeration solution and heavy-duty cast-iron inlet. The series have been specially designed to interlock with Citygreen’s range of integrated tree grilles. This provides a tamper resistant system that will also prevent the inlet sinking as a result of any soil settlement around the tree.

“Based on past failures of trees in urban environments and damage to surrounding pavements, it’s proof that adequate soil volumes are very important. While we were unable to achieve the absolute ideal target soil volume on this project due to budget restraints, we saw any significant improvements to the growing conditions as being beneficial,” Chia said.

The biggest issue they faced was designing within such a tight budget. Although they had to substitute materials and treatments, Chia said they were “adamant that the Stratacell system had to go in”.

It’s only been a year since the trees were planted, but Chia said the trees are establishing well.

“We are hopeful that this will continue to be the case for years to come. There is no doubt the Stratacell system provides major benefits over other more traditional systems” he said.


Based on the feedback from contractors, Chia said they knew that the system was very simple to install. They had very little issues with the installation and a Citygreen representative was present to help guide the contractors through the installation process.

Chia said they have since incorporated the Stratacell system into a number of subsequent projects.

“The trees are looking great. However, having only been a year, we are sure we will see the benefits in the coming years,” he said.