Convivial Greenstreets


I use convivial greenstreet as a conceptual umbrella term for informal streetside gardening in dense, yardless urban cores. In many of the cities that I've been studying, plants and related paraphernalia are expressions of resident- and merchant-gardeners in interstitial spaces along frontages. On tighter streets, plants squat on public rights-of-way; such 'transgressions' are usually tolerated by civic authorities.

Convivial greenstreets seem consistent with
broader trends in makeshift urbanism, and are distinct from public streetscape plantings (both may contribute ecosystem services). I've observed that this form of quotidian gardening may function as a kind of lingua franca along the street - a pretext to conviviality and a context for emerging communities of planterly practice. At the very least these small but green gestures can offer a counterpoint to disaffection and melancholia on the street.

Cities studied thus far include:
  
    Amsterdam (Jordaan, Grachtengordel-West)
    Leiden, NL (Binnenstad-Zuid/Noord, Stationsdistrict)
    Delft, NL (Binnenstad, Centrum-oost)
    Leeuwarden, NL (Centrum)
    Katwijk, NL (Katwijk aan Zee)
    Brussels (Saint-Gilles, Forest, Ixelles)
    Ghent, BE (Centrum, Patershol)
    Cologne (Ehrenfeld, Altstadt-Süd, Sülz, Lindenthal, Neustadt-Süd)
    Bonn (Altstadt, Zentrum, Südstadt)
    Frankford (Innenstadt)
    Aachen, DE (Aachen-Mitte)
    Andernach, DE (city centre)
    Rostock, DE (Stadt-mitte, Südstadt)
    Copenhagen (Christianshavn, Indre By, Vesterbro)
    Lund, SWE (Centrale Staden)
    Paris (Le Marais, Quartier d’Amerique, Montmartre, Quartier Latin)
    Barcelona (Gràcia, Eixample, Barceloneta, Horta, Cuitat Vella)
    Prague (St. Mesto, N. Mesto, Josefov, Malá Strana, Vínorady,
         Zizkov, Holešovice, Hradčany, Dejvice) and nearby Karlštejn
    Budapest (Kerület I, II, III, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, XIII) and nearby Szentendre
   
Lisbon (Alfama, Santa Maria Maior: Rossio/Baixa/Chiado, Bairro Alto,
       
Graḉa; nearby Cascais and Sintra)
   
San Juan, PR (Old San Juan, La Perle, Santurce, Villa Palmeras, Ponce)
   
Dublin (Trinity College, Temple Bar, Old City, Liberties, North City Center)
    Limerick and Galway, IRL (core neighborhoods)


 


                                              eyes on the street...




windowsill wildflowers     windowsill wildflowers, Bonn

Windowsill wildflowers |  Altstadt neighborhood, Bonn, Germany








 

Delft street

Play time on Trompetstraat  |  Delft, The Netherlands









Bonn-meerkats on the street

Meerkat sentinels  |  Altstadt, Bonn









woman on bicycle in ghent

Vines and planter boxes on Schouwvegers Straat  |  Ghent, Belgium










birdhouses in Leiden

Birdhouses on Doezastraat  |  Leiden, The Netherlands










cafe in Brussels

Chez Mimoun on Rue de Moscou  |  Saint-Gilles, Brussels








Ghent ivy stickers     Ghent ivy sticker      

Ivy leaf stickers  |  Ghent, Belgium









stairs in Paris

Stair lips along Rue de Cloître Saint-Merri  |  Paris










Saint-Gilles neighbors

Neighbors and a tree  |  Saint-Gilles, Brussels









Ghent slot street gardens

Slot-street gardens on Rodelijvekens Straat  |  Ghent, Belgium









flowers and graffiti, Cologne

Street arts  |  Ehrenfeldt district, Cologne









streetscape, Amsterdam

  Canalscape  |  Centrum neighborhood, Amsterdam









wall plantings, Paris

Window plants  |  Marais district, Paris









cafe, Cologne

Sidewalk café  |  Altstadt-Süd district, Cologne









windowscape, Brussels

Windowscape  |  Saint-Gilles, Brussels









tree pit, Cologne

  Merchant-public joint installation  |  Engaged In Ehrenfeld program, Venloer Strasse, Ehrenfeld, Cologne










streetscape, Brussels

Sustainable Quarters partnership program in action  |  Saint-Gilles, Brussels









espalier, Cologne

One less paver, one more espaliered fruit tree  |  Altstadt-Süd, Cologne









florist, Brussels

Flower purveyor  |  Saint-Gilles, Brussels









vine on wall, Aachen, Germany

Vines  |  Aachen-Mitte, Aachen, Germany








Bonn-planter-stump

Bonn-stump     Bonn-stump-sign

and now, Bonn?  |  Altstadt, Bonn









windowscape, Ghent

Street frontage in Patershol  |  Ghent, Belgium









cherry blossom petals     cherry blossom stencil

Kirschblüten detritus  |  Altstadt, Bonn








     
Bonn - maibaum     Bonn-maibaum     Bonn-maibaum   

Maibaum on May Day  |  Altstadt, Bonn


\
Maibaum in transit  |  Cologne   (photo by T. Knuvener)    Cologne-maibaum-bike










flower bed in Cologne

Arterial streetscape  |  Altstadt-Süd, Cologne









kids on bench, Delft

Kids and bench on Trompetsraat  |  Delft, The Netherlands









facade, Ghent

Street frontage in Centrum  |  Ghent, Belgium









plants on wall, Amstedam

Plantings on metal grid along Rozenstraat  |  Centrum, Amsterdam









     pinks chair

Pinks and whites  |  Aachen, Germany








green apt, Ehrenfeldt, Cologne

Apartment greenery  |  Ehrenfeld, Cologne









Delft street scene

Mother and son on Trompetsraat  |  Delft, The Netherlands









pipe stocking, Cologne

Pipe stocking  |  Köln (Cologne)









lamp post, Aachen

Flower basket and lamp post  |  Aachen, Germany









pots on facade, Barcelona

Red pots and laundry  |  Barri Gòtic, Barcelona









forecourt gardens, Prague

Forecourt gardens  |  Old Bubeneč, Prague









green piano, Budapest

Piano in District VI  |  Terézváros, Budapest









chained plants, Budapest

Tethered plants in District V  |  Belváros, Budapest









Lisbon - Socorro

Step gardens  |  Socorro parish, Lisbon









balcony with pots and legs, Lisbon

Balcony bric-a-brac  |  Lisbon









step gardens - Alfama

Step gardens  |  Alfama, Lisbon










Lisbon plam trees

Palms at Teatro Camões  |  Parque das Nações, Lisbon









watering-Alfama-Lisbon

Watering, surfing  |  Alfama, Lisbon









San Juan red wall

Red wall
, red grille  |  Old San Juan, Puerto Rico









San Juan - potted plants square

 
Claimed square in square  |  Old San Juan, Puerto Rico









San Juan - pots in a row

Sidewalk denizens  |  Old San Juan, Puerto Rico









San  Juan - floral planter

Window decor  |  Old San Juan, Puerto Rico









San Juan - hard hat

  Post-Hurricane Maria Villa Palmeras, Puerto Rico









San Juan - pouches

Red buckets and pouches  |  La Perla, Puerto Rico









San Juan - redhead

Redhead in La Perla  |  San Juan, Puerto Rico











Green and terra cotta blockade  |  Old San Juan, Puerto Rico





 


 
Dublin pub 1              Dublin pub 2
 
Only the pubs have flowers  |  Dublin









orange chairs, Galway

Nasturtiums  |  Galway, Ireland









Bonn-eyes on the street

Eyes on the street  |  Altstadt, Bonn








Bonn-no humans are illegal

No humans are illegal  |  Altstadt, Bonn









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photos by
Ken Tamminga, Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0