Save the trees!

Fab Talking Walking podcast this week, all about street trees.

 Susan Trangmar is a visual artist working in the context of landscape, place and site and in particular the evolving relationships between material formations of ‘nature’ and ‘culture’. An early training in sculpture and photography has developed into lens based practices using digital ‘moving’ and ‘still’ image, light projection and sound including the spoken word.

When Central St Martins School of Art & Design moved from Holborn to Granary Square, Kings Cross, Susan set out to walk her regular routes in and around Bloomsbury to try to record an instance of time and place, framing the city by its street trees – see A forest of signs.

London is characterised by its plane trees. Susan talks about trees distorted by street furniture, everything tidied up and made private. No space for trees.

Walking in Bloomsbury inevitably means Virginia Woolf:

The sound of the power saw haunts Denmark. One big reason why we bought our house was because it had its own small forest at the bottom of the garden, but over the years many have fallen victim to either strong winds or our neighbour’s urge to keep things neat and tidy. The same tendency has been shown by our local council – on many of our walks trees have been mercilessly cut down, making the landscape increasingly featureless. In flat Denmark you need something to break things up, particularly in winter when the grey sky reaches lower and lower.

In Copenhagen proper Red Byens Træer (a Danish Trees for Cities) is doing its best to highlight the issue of street trees, starting with Torvehallerne (the market that isn’t). At Classic Copenhagen Sandra Høj frequently blogs about trees (great pics too, inc from the recent #stormdk):

We have so little wilderness in Copenhagen. For some reason the city planners are obsessed with neatness, keeping things at an even height, and manageable. Grass is better than trees, and asphalt is better than grass.

Copenhagen has no tree plan or Boris’ Street Tree Initiative. Local enclave Frederiksberg does, plus a map of all the trees in the area (all 15K+ of them – see @neogeografen’s viz):

map showing trees in Frederiksberg

the full map – click on ‘veje & trafik’ (screenshot via Red Byens Trær)

European Green Capital, anyone? Greenwashing more like, a functional approach to sustainability as a city branding strategy. 


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