Convivial Greenstreets

I use convivial greenstreet as a conceptual umbrella term for informal streetside gardening (ISG) in dense, yardless urban cores. In many of the compact European cities that I've been studying, plants and their supporting paraphernalia are cultivated by resident- and merchant-gardeners in interstitial spaces along street frontages. Some especially tight streets accommodate ISG installations that 'squat' on public rights-of-way -- though civic authorities usually seem quite agreeable.

Collectively, ISG installations are distinct from civic streetscape plantings, although both may contribute ecosystem services. I've observed that this form of
quotidian gardening may serve as a kind of lingua franca along the street, a pretext to conviviality and a context for emerging communities of green practice.

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 (Grŕcia, 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)
    and nearby Cascais and Sintra

summer 2018: Ireland (Dublin, Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Galway)

windowsill wildflowers     windowsill wildflowers, Bonn

windowsill wildflowers, Altstadt neighborhood, Bonn, Germany


kids playing in Delft street

playtime, Trompetstraat, Delft, The Netherlands

woman on bicycle in ghent

vines and planter boxes, Schouwvegers Straat, Ghent, Belgium

birdhouses in Leiden

birdhouses, Doezastraat, Leiden, The Netherlands

cafe in Brussels

café, Saint-Gilles, Brussels

sticker on ivy     ivy leaf sticker, Ghent, Belgium

stairs in Paris

steps, Rue de Cloître Saint-Merri, Paris

neighbors, Brussels

neighbors and a tree, Saint-Gilles, Brussels

slot street, Ghent, Belgium

  courtyard gardens, Rodelijvekens Straat, Ghent, Belgium

flowers and graffiti, Cologne

street arts, Ehrenfeldt district, Cologne

streetscape, Amsterdam

 canal streetscape, 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

windowscape, Ghent

street frontage, Patershol neighborhood, Ghent, Belgium

cherry blossom petals     cherry blossom stencil

kirschblüten (cherry bloom) remains, Altstadt, Bonn

flower bed in Cologne

arterial streetscape, Altstadt-Süd, Cologne

kids on bench, Delft

kids and bench, Delft, The Netherlands

facade, Ghent

street frontage, Centrum, Ghent, Belgium

plants on wall, Amstedam

plantings on metal grid, Rozenstraat, Centrum, Amsterdam

     pinks chair

pinks and whites, Aachen, Germany

green apt, Ehrenfeldt, Cologne

apartment greenery, Ehrenfeld, Cologne

mother and son, Delft

mother and son, Trompetsraat, Delft, The Netherlands

pipe stocking, Cologne

pipe stocking, Cologne

lamp post, Aachen

flower basket and lamp post, Aachen, Germany

pots on facade, Barcelona

red pots and laundry, Barri Gňtic, Barcelona

forecourt gardens, Prague

forecourt gardens, Old Bubeneč, Prague

green piano, Budapest

piano, District VI Terézváros, Budapest

chained plants, Budapest

tethered plants, District 5 Belváros, Budapest

Lisbon - Socorro

step gardens, Socorro parish, Lisbon

step gardens - Alfama

step gardens, Alfama, Lisbon


watering, Alfama, Lisbon

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