Greening our cities is a major part of the Transition Towns movement. This can present a challenge for many urban centers, which for the most part are covered in concrete and asphalt. I would often dream of ways in which all the asphalt could be removed from streets, or parking lots. And so, I was happy to hear that there is an organization which goal is exactly this. It is called depave.
As mentioned on their web site, depave was created to inspire, and “promote the removal of unnecessary concrete and asphalt from urban areas”. For the moment the organization, is local to Portland, Oregon, USA. However, it signifies a growing trend, shared by many transition towns/communities. On their web site, pictures can be seen of the depaving process, such as those of an urban Chicago back-parking lot.
Depaving is by no means an easy task. It could be quite time consuming, but I’m sure it is a satisfying process! Different methods might be needed depending on whether you are depaving asphalt or concrete. As a general rule the soil under the concrete remains healthy, whereas it is advisable to have the soil under asphalt checked for toxicity. A complete manual on how to depave can also be found on depave.org.