Monday, August 4, 2008

Urban green space

A typical street in Hanoi, Vietnam

I empathize with people in cities or in places without much green space - it's not easy to connect with nature without having green space, parks, community gardens, container gardens, or balcony gardens, much less easy access to more 'wild' nature.

A peaceful place in central Hanoi

In the urban whirl that characterizes Hanoi today, the central lake and its surrounding park provides a bit of a connection to the natural world. It's a traditional park with walking paths and landscape plantings.

Closer to home,
I remember seeing a woman in Washington, DC last summer waiting for the homeless shelter to open, 'planting' weeds that she'd collected, echoing perhaps a distant memory of planting a garden. I wish I had talked with her about what she remembered.

I read a piece a couple of years ago written by a woman who'd had a difficult struggle with illness, and she wrote poignantly of the meaning that being able to be out in her garden had for her. And I am always grateful for the green respite that our garden provides, and the sustenance that seeing growing things provides.

Cornell Lab of Ornithology recently rolled out a new program called Celebrate Urban Birds, promoting small-scale habitats with container gardens and rooftop gardens in cityscapes.

It's a great site and full of encouraging ideas about planting pockets of urban green.

But those of us in small cities and rural areas have even more opportunities to improve our community plantings. Why not focus on restoring natural diversity in our commercial landscapes and roadsides? We have the space; why not plant a diversity of (native) trees and shrubs in streetscapes, parks, and medians?

2 comments:

  1. I thought, since I love your blog and regularly visit (and would appreciate it if someone told me one of my links didn't work) that the link 'Celebrate Urban Birds' (at least it looks like a link)...doesn't work. I googled it though...GREAT idea, Thanks for bringing it to our attention!!!

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  2. I appreciate the nice compliment, and the heads up about the link!

    Cornell Ornithology Lab has such excellent outreach programs, and I thought this one was really worthwhile-there's a great poster that goes with the program, as well.

    Check out their new NestWatch program, too.

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