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Fallen Mountain Ash tree and fence

Our neighborhood is busy with tree pruning and removal this year – partly because of so much rain and the problems this is causing for the trees.

Our huge evergreen trees drink about 500 gallons of water a day, but will send roots into sewers and buckle the sidewalks getting enough space and fluids.   Our city has been taking out diseased and dying trees and replacing them with hybrid street trees.  These new trees may change our environment too because they are created trees and not just nature’s plantings.

Some of the 100 year old cherry and plum trees have just fallen down with so much rot within.

One or two of our neighbors have filled their yards with even more trees and with planning and care they have created some beautiful, restful, private space around their homes.  They got help, suggestions and free trees from our fabulous Urban Foresters

Then again, daily I walk past a house that has yet to mow the grass or repair the roof or indicate any sign of care for the space. The apple trees in our neighborhood are so full of coddling moth and apple maggot that we can no longer afford the organic sprays to keep our fruit edible and usable. We use homemade traps but they are not doing a big enough job.
2010 maggot traps

I think some of my neighbors will just wait until a diseased tree falls down.  A local Mountain Ash tree came down fortunately while everyone was at work; it pulled down the fence and heavily damaged the garden.  If the remaining parts of the tree come down too, it could take out the garage next door.  I would think a penny spent on care would provide more peace of mind and value than waiting for home owners insurance to rebuild a neighbor’s garage.

Not everyone’s vision is the same, so where do we draw the ultra fine lines of what is properly maintained, being a good neighbor, and intervention?  Is it not the role of the architect to teach within the community ongoing management of buildings?

The teaching role of the architect seems to be huge and maybe quite neglected currently.  Folks do not understand their relationship to trees and the environment that surrounds them – and they appear to be not interested in learning.   I do not think that many understand their responsibility to an energy efficient home and how to use proper cleaning and caring techniques to keep the building at optimum function.   Even more toxic chemicals are being put in the washing machines and on yards than ever before, even with the efforts of educators and government officials.

How do we teach and promote understanding even after the design?  How do we develop the sense of our integration with our environment – responsibility?

How will people ever understand living buildings or will it take the trees falling down and the polluted waters flooding, with not a drop to drink?

Do you think it will need to go that far before there is major correction?

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Thu, June 16 2011 » Discoveries

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