Using constructed soils for green infrastructure - Challenges and limitations

Maha Deeb*, Peter M. Groffman, Manuel Blouin, Sara Perl Egendorf, Alan Vergnes, Viacheslav Vasenev, Donna L. Cao, Daniel Walsh, Tatiana Morin, Geoffroy Séré

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


With the rise in urban population comes a demand for solutions to offset environmental problems caused by urbanization. Green infrastructure (GI) refers to engineered features that provide multiecological functions in urban spaces. Soils are a fundamental component of GI, playing key roles in supporting plant growth, infiltration, and biological activities that contribute to the maintenance of air and water quality. However, urban soils are often physically, chemically, or biologically unsuitable for use in GI features. Constructed Technosols (CTs), consisting of mixtures of organic and mineral waste, are man-made soils designed to meet specific requirements and have great potential for use in GI. This review covers (1) current methods to create CTs adapted for various GI designs and (2) published examples in which CTs have been used in GI. We address the main steps for building CTs, the materials and which formulae should be used to design functional CTs, and the technical constraints of using CTs for applications in parks and square lawns, tree-lined streets, green buffer for storm water management, urban farming, and reclaimed derelict land. The analysis suggests that the composition and structure of CTs should and can be adapted to available wastes and by-products and to future land use and environmental conditions. CTs have a high potential to provide multiple soil functions in diverse situations and to contribute to greening efforts in cities (and beyond) across the world.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4132020
Pages (from-to)413-434
Number of pages22
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes


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