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Trend Watch December 2018
Emails to Melbourne’s Trees are Romantic, Funny and Strange:
The city gave 70,000 trees email addresses for the public to report issues. Instead, they sent love letters and existential queries.
Since the project began more than 4,000 emails have come from all over the world including from Russia, Germany, Britain, Hungary, Moldova, Singapore, Brazil, Denmark, Hong Kong and the US.
A selection of the emails can be found on the ABC website, including this example:
Dear Smooth-barked Apple Myrtle,
I am your biggest admirer. I have always wanted to meet you, but tragically, I’m stuck in New York.
I think you are the most handsome tree of them all, tall with an inviting open canopy. I love to just dream of you, the smell of your clusters of white flowers, the sight of your lush, dark green foliage, and feel of your patterned bark.
You inspire me to live life to the fullest, and pursue my dreams; you keep growing despite the terrible tragedies in this world. You are loved and deserve the world.
Love, some person in New York
Each tree has a unique ID number that can be found via Melbourne City Council’s Urban Forest Visual, an interactive map that provides information about each tree including its species (if known) and life expectancy.
Photo by Melbourne Urban Forest Visual.
Hassell’s Winning Panda Land masterplan:
A connected, immersive ‘panda trail’ across the southern Chinese city of Chengdu aims to invite visitors to explore and view the iconic animals in a new way, says Hassell of its competition-winning design.
The proposal draws on research into how people perceive and engage with wildlife, says the firm.
“By locating animal enclosures away from the main paths, limiting visibility to the exhibits through key openings and positioning animals at a higher level than the visitors, we dissolve the common idea of humans being dominant over nature,” said Andrew Wilkinson, Hassell principal and project leader.
The project is “highly rewarding,” he told ArchitectureAU.
The masterplan proposes to educate visitors about panda conservation and protection across three key sites.
At Dujiangyan to the north-west Hassell envisions visitors becoming “explorers rather than conventional tourists,” wandering through the valleys of a panda habitat parkland, observation station and eco resort.
At Beihu park and lake in the north-east, the focus is on surrounding communities joining conservation efforts, with scientific research and cultural innovation centres running local education programs.
A landscape restoration strategy would lead efforts at Longquan Mountain to revegetate degraded areas. Hassell plans for an international education and learning venue and nature park to “connect the mountain to the new eastern edge of the city and a global market.”
Tongji Urban Planning and Design Institute collaborated with Hassell on the project, with specialist advice provided by landscape architect and zoo designer Jon Coe.
Image by Hassell.
Designing Cities to counter loneliness:
The way we design our cities can help or hinder social connection, writes Tanzil Shafique from the University of Melbourne for The Conversation.
We are currently experiencing epidemics of loneliness, he says, with half a mission Japanese suffering from social isolation, the UK appointing a minister for loneliness and an Australian MP calling for the same.
As well as the impact on mental health, researchers have found that loneliness can also increase the risk of heart disease and stroke, said to be as bad as smoking around 15 cigarettes a day.
The design of the built environment, Shafique says, does not ’cause’ interactions to happen that will alleviate loneliness, but it could work better to enable and encourage strangers to meet.
He proposed the question to his graduate design studio at the Melbourne School of Design: Can we think of different ways to be in the city, of a different architecture that can ‘cure’ loneliness?
Their responses range from transport solutions, pet share facilities, laneway activations, a restaurant with produce grown onsite, a kindergarten co-housed with a nursing home and gardening installation for cemeteries.
Image: Pixabay, Pexels.
Street Furniture Australia is donating $40,000 worth of furniture from breakout spaces from the 2022 Festival of Landscape Architecture: COUNTRY to The Murri School, an Aboriginal and Islander Independent Community School in Brisbane. The collection of Linea Seats, Cubes, Curved Benches, Sun Lounges and Picnic Settings includes a pair painted by artist Casey Coolwell-Fisher, a Quandamooka, Nunukul woman of Minjerribah (North Stradbroke Island, Queensland) – commissioned by Street Furniture Australia and Blaklash Creative. Director of Blaklash Creative and member of the Festival Creative Directorate Troy Casey says, “A huge part of the festival was about how we can ensure that community gets something from it. We spent two days sharing our culture, our experiences, and the responsibility to positive impact. We can’t really do that without giving back to mob, …
In rapidly urbanising Seoul, the next battle is saving green spaces: “Korea is a country that does not value greenery,” professor of landscape architecture at Pusan National University, Hong Suk Hwan, told Bloomberg CityLab. It “only acknowledges the value of property.” Samgmi Cha writes about South Korean local, 34-year-old Baik SooHye inspiring the shift of devaluing green spaces in South Korea to saving these spaces. SooHye’s ‘Plant Kindergarten’ project encourages the protection of hundreds of plants that are often destroyed at construction sites across Seoul. Cha meets SooHye in her outdoor garden in western Seoul with the many plant species that she’s saved from these sites. The rescued plants are ‘adopted’ out to others who are also passionate about green spaces in Korea. SooHye says, “I see ‘Plant Kindergarten’ as my …
Muji’s driverless shuttle bus: Japanese brand Muji has unveiled designs for an autonomous all-weather shuttle bus, called Gacha, set to run in three cities in Finland by 2020. Muji provided the aesthetic design, wanting it to look “friendly” and inviting, with autonomous driving technology by Finnish company Sensible 4. “We are developing these vehicles so that they can become part of [the] daily transportation service chain,” says Harri Santamala, CEO of Sensible 4, in Fast Company. “Autonomous vehicles can’t become mainstream until their technology has been insured to work in all climates.” The bus features a curved, cubic externior, with no discernable distinction between its front and back. A band of LED lights act as headlights, and signal to pedestrians and other drivers. The bus is expected to be launched in Helsinki …
23% of people get their alone time out of home, Ikea Reports: The traditional idea of where we find a feeling of home is being disrupted, moving beyond four walls, according to a global research project by Ikea Group. The report found that 1 in 3 people of the 22,000 surveyed in 22 markets including Australia, the US, Europe and China, said there are places where they feel more at home than the space they live in. In cities Ikea tracks this as rising from 20% in 2016 to 35% in 2018. The Life at Home Report 2018 identifies five core emotional needs which capture the feeling of home – privacy, comfort, ownership, security and belonging. Ikea says many living situations do not answer these needs, hence people look to their community and local area, their work, and the homes of their families …
Recycled plastic roads now on trial: Inventors are currently trialling recycled plastic road technology in the Netherlands, says The Economist, with a 30 metre bicycle track opened in early September. The first prefabricated PlasticRoad track in Zwolle consists of modular sections made in a factory from 70% recycled plastic and 30% polypropylene. Developers say it includes recycled plastic equivalent to more than 218,000 plastic cups or 500,000 bottle caps. Sensors to measure temperature, the number of bike passages, durability, flexing and the flow of water through drainage channels, are also fitted inside the path. Two Dutch firms – KWS, a road builder, and Wavin, a firm that makes plastic piping – are developing the product in partnership with Total, a French oil-and-gas firm. The trial follows an Australian test project installed in May, with a …