VANCOUVER WOULD BE COOLER IF #189: We Put A Big Fir Tree In Every Roundabout

by Claudia Chan | I recently came across this animated gif in my FB news feed. It’s a reconstructed image of what a Vancouver street could have looked like in 1914 and what it potentially could look like in the future. Pretty cool. It wasn’t uncommon for large trees to loom over city streets at the turn of the century when our city was still in its infancy. If city planners had just left them there, we would practically be living in an old growth forest by now.

As part of their exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery this past May, the designers of Goodweather Collective put forth this “retroprojective” proposal where giant trees would sit in the middle of neighbourhood roundabouts. By borrowing this idea from the past, they were re-imagining how we could marry urban and forest spaces together. I could just imagine the little kids just loving it – spending hours running around the roundabout tree. They would have the best of both worlds – the city and the forest in their own front yard.

It would be a pretty bold and avantgardist way of re-landscaping the city, and I think most folks would dig it. I’m just not sure how urban planners would react to the idea given that a roundabout tree might pose as an earthquake or lightning hazard. Still, I’m not opposed to a massive three hundred year old Douglas Fir down the middle of my street. You?

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Claudia Chan is an advocate of all things green. Born and raised in Vancouver, she is inspired by the work of local urban farmers, eco artists and policy makers who make this city the most lush and livable to work and play in. Her mission with Scout and her “Greenlight” column is to impart her enthusiasm for bike lanes, community gardens, farmers’ markets and more to her fellow Vancouverites.

  • Cellarmaster

    Holy crap!

    This is not the best thing to watch when you are hung over.

  • John

    I love decorated roundabouts, but making a third of the road invisible is just going to make the worst drivers in North America even worse.

  • http://www.annaelizabethcakes.com Anna

    I love landscaped roundabouts, but I think the roots of a large tree would end up tearing up the road around it. Too bad!

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  • Dan

    Certainly there are precedents for it. Mike Sorkin, an NYC based educator and architect, proposed doing planting trees in inner city East New York neighborhoods back in the mid 1990′s. I think it’s a great idea.