New technology makes it quicker and easier to restore trees to the urban landscape

Liverpool is a suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It’s about 32 kilometres (20 mi) south-west of the Sydney central business district. Despite its status as a suburb, Liverpool is actually one of the oldest urban settlements in Australia, founded on November 7, 1810 as an agricultural center by then-Governor Lachlan Macquarie.

Since 2015, the Liverpool City Council has been working since 2015 to revitalize Macquarie Mall into a vibrant communal hub that accommodates the city’s rapid growth and stimulates jobs and investment.

Revitalized mall. Renderings courtesy of Liverpool City Council.

The Macquarie Mall upgrade features a huge outdoor digital movie screen, a children’s water play space, and a giant chess set, the rejuvenated mall is surrounded by a number of revamped outdoor dining areas and feature trees for shade and visual appeal.

Mark Wilson, Senior Project Manager – Infrastructure and Environment at Liverpool City Council, says, “Trees are essential to revitalizing any centre of any city to bring back that green that we were lacking. It’s acting as a catalyst for encouraging not only businesses but also the public to come back to Macquarie Mall.

With the objective of providing a good, healthy tree canopy for visitors to enjoy, Stratavault was selected for its cutting-edge water harvesting abilities – giving trees both the water and uncompacted soil they need to thrive in a hardscaped, urban environment.

Ben Gooden, Design Leader and Founder of Citygreen, said, “One of the overall intents with this plan was to provide a good healthy tree canopy for the residents as part of a brilliant streetscape upgrade to make this a really nice place to be. There is a real focus on healthy trees in this design.

Mark Kuhn, Director at Urbis, said, “The Macquarie Street Mall is a really well loved and well used space. Our design strategy is to hang on to all of the components that are working well in the mall and rearrange them, and fundamental to that is providing shade to the space. With the several different options that were available, the Stratavault product is the most effective and efficient product on the market and we’re familiar with the success of this product from projects of over 10 years ago. So, we were very keen to use this in an urban environment.

Mark Wilson added, “We’re lining the mall both sides with 70 trees and those trees will enhance the look of the mall. Most of those trees will be deciduous so it will allow the sun in during winter and give shade in summer by having the continuous root growth through the Stratavault system. It allowed us to have healthy trees for the entire mall. It also enables us to have irrigation within that trench, and the agricultural drains to make sure it’s properly draining.

Mark Kuhn said, “Water harvesting has been around for the last 10 years or so and it’s just integrated into everything that we do. What we wanted to do was try to be responsible and capture as much water on-site before discharging it into the surrounding drainage system. We integrated the water strategy with the tree alignment within the mall, and directed all of the surface water run-off towards the trees, trying to capture as much of that as possible within the Stratavault cells below the surface.

Ben Gooden explained, “The Stratavault and Stratacell systems are both made from 100% recycled polypropylene. The strengths that we can provide are double that of similar offerings. Given we can achieve that with recycled plastic, it delivers massive benefits from a green building point of view. Every project is removing tons of industrial waste in landfills. The public are becoming more and more aware of the benefits of healthy trees and at the same time the cost of this system is decreasing. So now what we are seeing is projects no longer with city councils only, but also with big stores and shopping centre car parks implementing the system.

Mark Wilson concluded, “At the end of the day, when we have this Macquarie Mall complete, it will give back to the community – not only with the trees, not only with the Stratavault system, but also with all of the amenity that is provided. There will be a street market and lots of activities that will attract the community back into the CBD.

Unless otherwise credited, all images courtesy of CityGreen.

See CityGreen website.

See Macquarie Mall website.

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