Soils and Plants: Sensitive Interactions

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Soils and Plants:  Sensitive Interactions was prepared for the Faculty of Landscape Architecture, The University of British Columbia, in November, 1996.


As a result of changes in construction materials and technqiues, health and safety issues have arisen regarding contaminants, air quality and confinement for extended periods of time.  The idea that office buildings and homes could be making people ill by nature of volatile compounds emitting gaseous substances and poor circulation has resulted in an evolving field of building research.  This paper addresses such issues within the context of introducing plant and soil 'gardens' in enclosed spaces.  The paper discusses the potential impacts of combining plants and soil as to 1) Contaminants from changes in materials and techniques.  Factors: biological and chemical; and 2) Filtration and air quality relative to soil and plant ecosystems which purify the air.

There is discussion of the health affects and benefits of introducing small garden units with a view to illuminate further reasearch topics to be considered.  Finally, some of the design implications and clusters of areas of research to which attention could be directed are discussed.

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