Two years of course work done for a Masters Degree in Landscape Architecture and now it’s time to do research and write a thesis. So here I go, ready to write about water and soils. The reason I went back to school ‘at my age!’ as one friend so kindly put it, was because of a concern for the careless way in which we manage water, particularly in our cities. There’s a line in a Joni Mitchell song that has been going through my brain for decades; “They paved paradise and put in a parking lot”. Have you driven the Gardiner Expressway recently? You can watch television in someone’s condo while sitting in traffic. We keep covering the land with roads, buildings and parking lots, so when rain falls down from the sky it can’t return into the soil to replenish the groundwater. Instead it is whisked away into storm sewers, along with all of the crud from the roads, and sent straight into our lakes and rivers. The picture in this post was taken on a visit to Seoul. It’s called a bioswale or rain garden, and it’s function is to capture the water from the sidewalk, clean and filter it, and return it to the ground. It’s a powerful little device that can be multiplied and scaled up to have a significant impact on stormwater management. Bioswales are the subject of my thesis; I think they have the potential to help clean our water, beautify our streets and alleviate the strain on old, outdated infrastructure. I’ll post weekly and by April, if you keep reading, you and I will know a lot more about managing stormwater. Here’s a link to an organization that is literally depaving paradise.