2023 Track 1 Day 2: Panel


Panel Presentation: Improving Conditions for Street Trees: Challenges, Opportunities and New City of Toronto Standards


In the City of Toronto, soil cells are being installed in the City’s right-of-way with increasing regularity and scale. A key driver for this change is to meet the Toronto Green Standard requirement of providing 30 cubic metres of un-compacted soil in support of street tree growth to maturity, and recently the integration of stormwater management practices.

In 2020-2021, the City undertook a Soil Cell Evaluation (SCE) in 2020-2021 to better understand how various soil cell products perform in terms of ease of access to subsurface infrastructure/utilities; feasibility of continuous soil trench restoration including structural integrity; and comparative costs.

The Evaluation involved building 8 soil cell trenches, flooding them, thus simulating a water main break, and carrying out temporary and permanent repairs (one stage and two stage repairs).

The results from this study have informed the development of a revised soil cell specification, which is intended to be adopted by the City of Toronto as a standard specification, additionally, improvements were made to improve the growing media specifications.

The presentation summarizes the findings of the Evaluation, the challenges that we see ahead and some conclusions and suggestions for City of Toronto management to consider.


Kristina Hausmanis

Kristina Hausmanis, City of Toronto

Kristina has spent over 14 years working in municipal government developing and implementing multidisciplinary programs at the City of Toronto. In her current position as the Green Streets Senior Project Manager for Transportation Services, she coordinates the inter-divisional implementation of green infrastructure into right-of-way projects. Kristina holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology from McGill University and a Master of Environmental Science from the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus. Kristina chairs the interdivisional Green Streets Working Group and is the Transportation Services lead for the Soil Cell Evaluation (SCE).

Diane Leal

Diane Leal, City of Toronto

Diane is trained in both forest ecology and landscape architecture. She relies on this expertise and experience to develop policy and procedures aimed at improving the growing conditions of street trees in the City of Toronto. A member of the City’s Green Streets Implementation Working Group, Diane works with multi-divisional staff and 3rd party utilities to identify and address challenges to climate change-resilient streetscape design and maintenance. Diane was a primary author of the SCE study design and like Abe, is a core member of the SCE staff team.

Abe Mouaket

Abe Mouaket, City of Toronto

Abe is an Operational Policy Engineer with Transportation Services Division in City of Toronto. He carries a Bachelor in Civil Engineering, a Master in Transportation Planning and a Ph.D. in Infrastructure Management. He has experience in transportation at the Provincial, Municipal, and State levels as well as in teaching and consulting. Abe coordinated the field portion of the SCE.