This six-part blog series investigates the reasons why we have fallen out of love with soil (or at the very least taken it for granted) and how we can rekindle that relationship through an amended approach to the design and construction of our everyday places.
Soil and the City, Episode 4: Romancing the Soil – Towards Making Amend(ment)s
Last week we documented a rather messy breakup with soil, but today we've come to our senses and decided to ask for a second chance. With luck, a little romance will go a long way. Let's get back on that bicycle and review the basics:
Step 1: Get Soil's Number
Making the first move may seem daunting, but it's relatively simple. To begin, we need to remember that soil is actually there (though we might need x-ray goggles to see it). The urban environment provides ample hiding places for soil, yet it persists under the pavement and weed barrier fabric – the ultimate contrarian.
Getting soil's number is like unearthing a new kind of truth window. An aperture that reminds us that even under our feet, truck tires, parking lots and building foundations, fascinating stuff is happening down there. The prospect and mystery of a soil ecology that continues to survive despite our best efforts is infinitely alluring.
The act of "getting that number" opens up an avenue for communication, but as with any relationship there is protocol. Attention to detail, patience and sensitivity will lay the groundwork needed for authentic progress.
Step 2: Craft the Perfect Date
Now that we have soil's attention (or rather soil has regained ours) how do we win it back? Dr. Ruth suggests listening to your partner. Find out about them. Get to know them. Some prefer a swanky cocktail on a rooftop patio while others want to cozy up to a fire with a robust bottle of wine. Speaking from experience, a box of chocolate truffles will do the trick. But I digress.