Soils in urban and built environments: Pedogenic processes, characteristics, mapping, and classification

Randy L. Riddle, Matthew G. Siebecker, David C. Weindorf, Richard K. Shaw, Bryant C. Scharenbroch

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Soils in urban and built areas are growing in extent as world populations increase, and they provide essential ecological services to meet the complex needs of urban populations. Soils impacted by and formed from human-altered and human-transported (HAHT) materials are spatially heterogeneous, and their properties are typically discontinuous across short distances. Similar to non-urban soils, they inherit properties from the origin of their parent material. Although there is substantial spatial heterogeneity of soil properties, there are common properties such as presence of human artifacts, elevated pH, and greater bulk densities in urban soils compared to reference sites. Each city also has unique soil patterns and characteristics related to a city's native soil composition, cultural and development history, and management practices compared to other cities. Soil profile development has been observed in young HAHT soils and is usually concentrated near the surface layer or upper part of the soil profile. Methods, datasets, and data availability of soil survey maps in urban areas of the United States have progressed considerably, and modern soil surveys have been completed in several major metropolitan areas including New York City, NY, Chicago, IL, Detroit, MI, and Los Angeles, CA. Due to the wealth of new information and interest in urban soils, a new soil order, Artesols, has been proposed to represent soils formed in HAHT materials with significant alteration to soil properties. The new soil order will improve the ability of soil scientists to communicate the diverse soil properties encountered in urban and built areas.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Agronomy
EditorsDonald L. Sparks
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages29
ISBN (Print)9780323989558
StatePublished - Jan 2022

Publication series

NameAdvances in Agronomy
ISSN (Print)0065-2113


  • Artesols
  • Human-transported materials (HTM)
  • Soil Taxonomy
  • Soil survey
  • Technosols


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