Re: Sidewalk material
From: Fred H. Olson (
Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 13:20:40 -0500
Rob  Tom,   Kanata,  Ontario,  Canada    rob_tom [at]
is the author of the message below but due to a problem it was posted
by the Fred the list manager: owner-cohousing-L [at]
--------------------  FORWARDED MESSAGE FOLLOWS --------------------

>robin.ellison [at] wrote: 
>> you really need  concrete. I know it has more runoff, but I
>>think the tradeoff is worth it.

Hello Robin and ValueSeekers;

I've not been following this thread so apologies if the following
is off-base.

>From what little I have read, it appears that the choice of what
to place over the earth has been limited to "lawn" or "hard surface
paving", neither of which strike me as being very thoughtful
solutions and are certainly far from being "Green". 

The only place that I can think of where one really "needs"
concrete is for a structural floor slab that is suspended in the
air, as in a skyscraper... and presumably we are not talking
skyscrapers here.

There are are various low-impact means to alter the makeup of existing
soils so that they become suitable for heavy foot/vehicular traffic.

One that I'm aware of is psyllium-based and marketed in the US under
the name of "Stabilizer".

Another that I've recently come across is a product marketed under
the name "EcoCrete" (yes, they have a website).

Both of the above soil additives are capable of making surfaces which
are suitable for heavy vehicles at substantially lower cost (dollar-
wise and environmental impact-wise)

Again, not knowing the site/application, the following may be
inappropriate but "Woodchips" are another oft-overlooked option
that I think deserves more attention.

Woodchips (as may be obtained for free from tree care companies)
are usually taken to landfills and disposed of along with other
municipal waste, which IMO is a sin.

When spread over the earth in a layer 6-8 or more inches thick, the
woodchips provide a resilient surface which is a pleasure to walk on,
capable of supporting vehicles (even heavy trucks) on otherwise
impassable soggy terrain, does not pose an  hindrance to
wheelchairs and bicycles, and of course, does not bruise the knees
and faces of Little Ones who invariably find ways to challenge
Rob  Tom
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be417 [at]
Kanata,  Ontario,  Canada

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