Category The Dynamic Landscape

What is an ecologically-informed approach to urban planting?

The concept of ecologically-based plantings is unfortunately a very slippery one, and one that is open to wide interpretation. The urban environment, characterised by altered climate and water relations, damaged soils, skeletal and man-made substrates, a specialised flora of native and non-native species, and a strong cultural context, means that taking a purist ecological line is untenable. Indeed, many core principles that have come to be associated with an ecological approach to designed vegetation can be seen to be full of contradictions when applied in the urban situation. For the remainder of this chapter we will consider how a number of ideas that are considered important to the application of the term ‘ecological’ to designed vegetation relate to the urban context...

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Public plantings—the social dimension

The nature conservation movement has seized upon the inability to adequately fund the maintenance of traditional horticulturally based plantings as an opportunity to increase the use of native ‘habitat’ plantings in urban landscapes. This has occurred to a considerable degree over the past 20 years in Britain, mirroring what had happened much earlier in some other European countries. This has been a very positive development, the most obvious product of which has been substantial areas of young woodlands, which, although rather ecologically depauperate, should enrich with time. This movement has not, however, been able to fully address the latent needs left unfulfilled by the decline of traditional horticultural planting...

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Introduction to naturalistic planting in. urban landscapes

James Hitchmough and Nigel Dunnett

Although this book is potentially relevant to many urban contexts, it is most strongly aimed at the ‘public’ and ‘semi-public’ landscape. Some of these landscapes are public parks of one sort or another. The remainder are a difficult-to-characterise mix of spaces around public housing, commercial developments and institutions, car parks, left-over spaces from development, structure plantings of massed trees and shrubs, and strips along paths, roads and other corridors. Taken as a whole, these often very ordinary places are the landscapes we are most familiar with and which inform, and perhaps even shape, our attitudes to the world around us...

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