Incorporating Plants in the Existing Urban Fabric
The addition of plants within the urban fabric and built environment may perhaps raise the question of validity in terms of whether the project aims to simply provide a peaceful and calm public space that would double up as an air purification organism, or whether this would be just a way of camouflaging some very costly and profit-driven investments.
One might argue that in some cases, the trees and other plants would act purely as an aesthetic layer onto an environmentally inefficient and costly project, however there will be exceptions to this case.
Following up the argument of wealthy-driven design, London has approved towards building a quite controversial project proposal.
The Garden Bridge Project by Thomas Heatherwick promises to enrich the lives of Londoners through the addition of a suspended garden above the Thames in the form of a pedestrian bridge.
The green oasis is planned to be built in the major capital and it has received quite a varied pallet of responses. Truthfully so, it does deserve a thorough critical analysis because it implies an enormous financial investment without promising any major environmental improvement.
Considering all above arguments, one might argue that the Garden Bridge Project is perhaps a hypocritical attempt of biomimicry.
Not to consider the fact that it all floats on pillars above water, those plants cannot be of a great size and that they will also imply some unnatural manner of plantation in large vases, rather than creating an actual park or natural oasis.
The proposed pedestrian bridge project was promising “a morning commute through a peaceful garden,”  however the reality of the situation is that it would be too costly and that it would not have enough environmental impact on the city.
Therefore, since its cost of £60 million public funding plus more than double that amount of private funding , the current mayor suspended the construction of the bridge .
The ambition of this project may be considered perhaps a monetary exhaustion, however there are more efficient ways of incorporating greenery within the urban fabric. By simply creating ground level public parks that can be accessed by the whole community and use the local resources and adapt to local plants, the effect of these spaces would be as beneficial, or maybe even more beneficial as the floating garden proposed over the river Thames.
Perhaps a bold assumption, but one might argue that sometimes simple is more efficient and that by following what flows naturally within a set environment and connecting to the local natural habitat, is a much better way of using resources and creating an environmentally sustainable future.
Since a sustainable future does not rely only on one factor such as nature, we as humans, need to be analytical and selective with the solutions we propose for the future so that we provide both a sustainable natural future, but also a well-balanced and non-strenuous economical future.
This is a guest post written by Timea-Laura Tifan.
Timea is an architecture student with passion for the environment. You could say she is an ‘architect who gives a plant’. Throughout her studies, she incorporates nature within her design and strives for a sustainable built environment.
She is excited about nature inclusive architecture and in her free time she runs her own blog. With her roots being in beautiful Romania, she incorporates natural traditional design from home into sustainable solutions for dense urban fabrics.