"The schemes include road and pavement widening and resurfacing, extended 20 mph restrictions and junction improvements. There will also be cycling, pedestrian crossing and bus stop improvements, along with better street lighting, and trees and landscaping in some areas. Via: Transport for Greater Manchester, January 14th (also view the fly through video, which indicates the extent of “landscaping")
The dreaded word (landscaping) that accompanies many engineer led improvement schemes! One wonders whether there was any consultation with a landscape architect in respect of the positioning, size and scale of the “landscaping areas.”
The following points need answering...:
Was any thought given sustainability?
What was envisaged in respect of the contribution of these areas to the streetscape present and future?
These areas could have been integrated into the storm water management system - was this considered?
The planting could have been selected for its ability to absorb pollutants and slow down run off;
No consideration has been given to scale, with a matrix of Hebe, Lavender and ornamental grasses in the most recently constructed areas, forming a low incompatible groundcover, which experience has shown will not survive the pressure of living in an urban environment (Supermarket car park mix!)
Was any thought given to using specialised soils, which would have been compatible with the extremes of an urban environment?
Was any thought given at least to using mature specimens to provide an immediate robust structure to the planting?
The use of bark as a mulch is also questionable in such a highly urbanised environment, both visually and practically;
Why were pleached trees not planted? They could have responded to the scale of surrounding buildings, managed and pruned to prevent interference to road users and contributed to pollution absorption.