Public outdoor space is dwindling. The age that brought us the great city parks may be well behind us. But the desire for shared green space remains. What to do?
Rather than hide in their backyards, some enterprising dreamers (disguised as designers and gardeners) have come to save us.
What they do is build green worlds where none existed before. Or sometimes they just better exploit what's already there.
One of the best recent examples of how this might work is High Line.
For decades Staten Island was a place infamous for its stink: Blame Fresh Kills, the world's largest landfill in their midst. Closed to dumping in 2001, plans are now underway to transform this erstwhile effluvium ejector into a lush green space three times the size of Central Park.
This, from Melbourne, Australia:
Macro urban and micro residential:
The size of the garden isn't nearly as important as where it is:
The famous dining plaza of the Hotel Plaza Athénée, Paris:
A concept for Spiral Garden which is to be a self-sufficient vertical public garden as well as a place where social interaction, native vegetation, and urban orchards may coexist. The plan is to build them in cities and run them as a kind of public co-op. More info here.
The proposed vertical Dochodo Island Zoo in Korea:
There's much more to this than merely aesthetics. We don't have to look hard to find more urgent incentives: According to United Nations estimates, 80% of the world's citizens will live in cities by 2050. Swedish architectural firm Plantagon has an idea: The vertical greenhouse.
The greenhouse is a regenerating food bank making food production less costly for consumers and the environment. It also attempts to counter urban sprawl with a self-sufficient alternative. Plantagon's CEO Hans Hassle says this:
Essentially, as urban sprawl and lack of land will demand solutions for how to grow industrial volumes in the middle of the city, solutions on this problem have to focus on high yield per ground area used, lack of water, energy, and air to house carbon dioxide.
Not that aesthetics aren't reason enough.
As George Carlin said, it's not about saving the planet. The planet is fine. It's the people who're f**ked.
Nature will get it back in the end. We may as well give in to it now.