June 10, 2016

Inspirational Catalogue

In honor of Copenhagen's brand new Tree Policy, we plan to build a catalogue to inspire our politicians. A page to get acquainted with the best practices of other cities, preserving and protecting the street trees. And preferably set aside the funds to match them. We begin with Paris, shot in April and August.

New trees:
Newly planted trees have g i a n t fenced off cradles, with wild nature. Properly explained on several signs, informing and instructing citizens: mind this space, a tree is about to grow. Once it has settled in, the frame is removed, and the root zone protected with a grill, so the young roots are not suffocated in compressed soil. And naturally a fence is mounted around the trunk.

A beautiful, wild cradle for a newly planted tree. Paris in the August edition.

1: Building the cradle and fence. Then, the planting of the tree and proper signage. Paris in April.

2: Once the tree is settled in, the fence is removed. Paris in April.

3: The sidewalk is partly returned, a guard is placed in the root zone and a fence is mounted around the fragile young bark. Paris in April.

Brand new set up. Paris in April.

Mature trees:
The mature trees are protected as well, against traffic and parked cars. Beautiful, sculpted iron structures, designed to take the beating that would otherwise have caused irreparable damage to the tree.

In this case the grill not only keeps pressure away from the roots, it is also used to mount the parking and traffic guard.

Every other tree are guarded with iron structures, and as we can see the cars are pushing it to the limit. Without the guards, the trees would have been scraped and damaged by opening car doors, etc.

Brilliant grill, allowing for mounting of the car guard without digging in the root zone.

Another design that in this case saved an old plane tree.

Construction work:

It is not up for interpretation where you are allowed to dig and unload heavy objects and machines. Clear and respected boundaries!

In Paris the trees are rightly treated as a part of the infrastructure. As an investment and with great respect. This is what it takes for vulnerable street trees to survive and thrive. Nothing less.

June 6, 2016

The replanting excuse

"Don't worry, we will replant". This is the excuse used every time they fell big, viable street trees in Copenhagen. Usually because it is easier to fell the trees than incorporate them, or because a landowner have big plans for the space underneath them (cough: Carlsberg). Even the city uses that excuse, as we know it from the 15 big trees in Møllegade.

The canopy removed will not resurface in our lifetime. And in many cases trees felled in the urban space, is a permanent removal, as newly planted trees have near impossible conditions for survival. And this is why the life span of a newly planted street tree in Copenhagen is only seven years.

One of the big obstacles is congestion. The soil is so compact that the roots have no chance to settle in, before they succumb. The surrounding area is constantly being dug up and the space is shared with cables, fibres and pipes. The urban trees in Copenhagen enjoy zero protection from traffic and thoughtless behavior, the bark is damaged and the wounds weakens the trees, making them susceptible to rot and fungus. Not to mention how they are systematically salted to death.

By the lakes on Nørrebro a young tree have fought an uneven battle since it was planted in 2014. With zero protection of the small root zone or the trunk. It has survived endless bikes thrown against the bark and even inconsiderately hung election posters, but the final straw was an out of hand street party. The city has informed us that it will be left to wither.

Two years, it survived in the street.

Google streetview from 2014, of the small newly planted tree.

Throwing your bike against a severely wounded tree? Disrespectful!

An unprotected investment. Unworthy of any city.