When I posted the above photo on LinkedIn that I snapped earlier last week, I didn’t expect the diversity and range of comments to ensue. I was surprised (in a good and curious way) about the amount of dialogue it generated because we can never be thinking or discussing issues of urban heat and various solutions too much.
Thanks to Mateusz Rozanski for sending the above sketch. I credit Mateusz with introducing me to the phrase “web of street trees”, which is so incredibly important for community-wide benefits, thermal comfort for pedestrians, cyclists etc, positive environmental benefits and more.
“This is not my best drawing,” he writes “Introduction (2) trees at the stop will not only provide shade but will lower temperatures by employing the trees transpiration which will lower the temperature even more. The sidewalks and bike lane are permeable so it gives huge soil volume available for the bus trees. Sedums on the roof could be replaced by dry shade plants.”
We have solutions! There are many people with the know-how! Much of the problem boils down to the politics of implementation and also rooting ourselves in common sense planning.
*I want to also note that there are some great trees just a few steps up ahead from this stop. There might be specific safety reasons that trees do not surround this particular stop. That said, shade is such a critical and increasingly important issue for urban planning and public health so re-envisioning how stops like these could be improved is a good move.
I later snapped a photo of the above station which is only minutes away from the station I posted earlier this week. Curiously, an image of a good, well-shaded station barely generated any commentary, but it serves as a good example nonetheless.
There are stories behind every station but the broader intention with my posts has been to highlight the importance of shade and trees and the relationships between planning, urban design and public health.
Issues of urban heat, planning and public health are critical issues in cities across the world and issues of increasing focus here at Pedestrian Space.
I would wager a guess that across the world, many cities have a mix of well-designed and well-shaded stations as well as stations that need attention. This is not unique to any one city.
Now and next-level planning takes into account the dangers of urban heat and integrates solutions that will increasingly mitigate the effects.
We will continue to photograph and share images of stations, whether they are great examples or ones needing attention. I will wager a guess that almost everyone reading this post has examples of both in their city. Feel free to email your snaps to us at email@example.com or tag @pedestrianspace on Instagram or Twitter.
-Annika Lundkvist, Founder at Pedestrian Space