Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Begin Again with Trees

Memphis Botanic GardenIf you were alive in the Paris of Louis XIV, the impression of these new boulevards and avenues would be of a tremendous formalizing of nature, rather than of urbanization. The chief device, the parallel rows of trees was a fairly easy way to achieve stunning monumental effects and perspectives with little actual material and labor. These abstract diagrammatic schemes signified little beside the kings' ability to make a rural landscape orderly --something he clearly relished. However, when they finally were developed with buildings decades later, the boulevards and avenues of Louis XIV would become templates for the best of the Second Empire's new street typologies, and they remain models for excellent street sections into our time.
The City in Mind,
James Howard Kunstler
(emphasis mine)

Making ordered rows of great Memphis native trees could be the first, relatively easy step toward retrobeautifying our problematic ugly avenues and boulevards. Even -- especially -- in commercial districts.

Labels: , , , , ,