By A. B. Grove
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Extra info for City Landscape. A Contribution to the Council of Europe's European Campaign for Urban Renaissance
I think it can be done, but it is going to take time and I am not asking for vast open spaces, but for a much closer integration. For example, where a new shop is built, let the building line be set back and the space be given to planting a tree or two. Why not? Michael Middleton (The Civic Trust) May I just take up the question of roads. I think that the cosmetic element should not be totally despised. The City of London has managed to cover a great deal of concrete with greenery based on about three inches of soil; and I was particularly impressed in Portland, Oregon, where the main freeways going through the city are almost entirely covered with creepers and heathers and trees and shrubs of one kind or another.
Perhaps the main reason why we are able to abstract such scenes from their wider setting is because the constituent 'forces' are predominently convergent, producing the impression of a centre of gravity. This, then, is another form of dialectic between forces of fragmentation and chaos and those which combine into a centripetal pattern. When the tension is acute but the result clearly favours a centripetal and therefore unified composition, we may have aesthetic quality. We might go further to suggest that such a dialectic may reach a harmonic pitch when the perceived difference between divergence and convergence approximates to the golden section.
I think the answer is self-evident — if somebody is able to identify himself with his own living room or bedroom, he will not destroy it and that is the same for open spaces. I question why Social Science departments in Polytechnics and Universities have not made more use of Landscape Architects either in their Institutions or alternatively local Landscape Architects who could make a contribution. That is perhaps a small area in which either we have missed out in not making an impact on the sociologists, or perhaps they are at fault for not spotting this particular weakness in their courses.
City Landscape. A Contribution to the Council of Europe's European Campaign for Urban Renaissance by A. B. Grove