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Urban soils can present distinct and unique challenges to the land manager, landscape architect or horticulturist responsible for developing, maintaining or improving urban landscapes. Often compacted, contaminated, or otherwise unsuitable for plant growth, urban soils require assessment, solutions and practical methods to ensure successful outcomes. This applications-oriented subject covers several fundamental soil science issues with direct relevance to urban landscape impacts, uses and requirements. Topics covered include compaction, nutrition, contamination, water supply, drainage and structural soils.
Intended learning outcomes
Upon completion of this subject students will be able to:
Discuss ecosystem services that urban soils provide to the population, built landscape and biodiversity
- Discuss key soil physical and chemical properties and their application to urban soil typologies.
- Undertake field assessments/measurement of soil properties (physical, hydrologic & chemical), including sampling of urban soils for laboratory analysis
- Discuss the mechanisms that impact urban soil conditions.
- Describe the rationale, function, design and installation of structural soils, containerised soils and other specialised environments
- Assess methods used to remediate, alleviate and improve urban soils.
- Investigate case studies of soil assessment, analysis and problem solving in different urban landscape scenarios (turf, tree, construction, horticultural, roads, etc.)
- Discuss hydrological issues associated with soil water availability, irrigation supply and drainage management.
Generic skills obtained during this course will be:
- Soil management skills for residential gardens, production horticulture, local government and major infrastructure.
- Scientific understanding of key soil physical, chemical and hydrological properties.
- Basic field and laboratory competencies for urban soil and landscape assessments.
- Systems understanding of the urban landscape (water, substrate, vegetation, society, climate).
Oral presentation skills and inter-personal skills for group work under pressure.
Last updated: 3 November 2022