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-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, 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