This book focuses on the politics of street trees and the institutions, actors and processes that govern their planning, planting and maintenance. This is an innovative approach which is particularly important in the context of mounting environmental and societal challenges and reveals a huge amount about the nature of modern life, social change and political conflict.
The work first provides different historical perspectives on street trees and politics, celebrating diversity in different cultures. A second section discusses street tree values, policy and management, addressing more contemporary issues of their significance and contribution to our environment, both physically and philosophically. It explores cultural idiosyncrasies and those from the point of view of political economy, particularly challenging the neo-liberal perspectives that continue to dominate political narratives. The final section provides case studies of community engagement, civil action and governance. International case studies bring together contrasting approaches in areas with diverging political directions or intentions, the constraints of laws and the importance of people power.
By pursuing an interdisciplinary approach The Politics of Street Trees produces an information base for academics, practitioners, politicians and activists alike, thus contributing to a fairer political debate that helps to promote more democratic environments that are sustainable, equitable, comfortable and healthier.
Part One: Historic perspectives on street trees and politics
1. The ‘Right to Plant’: roadside tree planting in The Netherlands / Jan Woudstra
2. ‘Trees even in their very roads’: mid seventeenth-century English perspectives on trees, streets, and politics / Felicity Stout
3. Green lines of power? The Apprentice Boys' trees and the walls of Derry/Londonderry / Finola O’Kane
4. Progress and economics: planting roadside fruit trees in German regions in the 18th and 19th centuries / Sylvia Butenschön and Thomas Thränert
5. Sylvan strife: tree conflicts in Victorian and Edwardian towns / Paul A. Elliott
6. Drivers of street tree species selection: the case of London planetrees in Philadelphia / Lara A. Roman and Theodore S. Eisenman
7. A ‘silent’ activist for trees: the life and legacy of Gustav Hermann Krumbiegel in Mysore, India / Gert Groening
8. A broken covenant: the creation and desecration of Sheffield’s living memorials / Camilla Allen
9. Roads of modernisation: street tree planting in the Republic of China (1911-1949) / Yishi Liu and Jan Woudstra
10. Japanese cherry pride on foreign ground / Wybe Kuitert
Part Two: Street tree values, policy, and management
11. Highway tree policies and management: an historical perspective of ownership and responsibility / Jan Woudstra and Camilla Allen
12. Street trees matter, so what’s the matter with street trees? How the ecosystem services and disservices of street trees can and should influence attitudes / Ross Cameron
13. Emerging challenges and developments with respect to street trees in compact cities / Kai Wang, Jian Hang and Julian C.R. Hunt
14. The opportunity to interact with the urban forest is a human right / Alan Simson
15. What street trees mean: memory, beauty, hospitality / John Miller
16. Climate change, forest fires, and evolving street tree policies in Porto, Portugal / Cláudia Fernandes, Catarina Teixeira and Isabel Martinho da Silva
17. The political economy of street trees / John Henneberry and Philip Catney
18. The economics of street trees – Why we so often can’t see the wood for the trees / Philip B. Whyman
19. Roadside trees and traffic safety policies / Jan Woudstra
20. Streets Ahead or the Road to Hell? Analysing street tree strategies in the UK / Nicola Dempsey
Part Three: Community engagement, civic action, and governance
21. Legal responsibility for street trees / Charles Mynors
22. Occupying public space, generating public spheres: street tree art and activism in East and West Berlin in the 1970s and 1980s / Sonja Dümpelmann
23. The legacy of colonial and arpartheid eras on the distribution, composition and representation of street trees in South Africa / Charlie Shackleton, Nanamhla Gwedla and Elandrie Davoren
24. Against all odds: making the case for trees in Bogotá, Colombia / Germán Tovar Corzo and Sylvie Nail
25. Legal protection of street trees in Israel: Actors, process, and enforcement / Yifat Holzman-Gazit
26. Tracing the socio-political dynamics of street tree contestation in the twenty-first century through the Sheffield case-study / Ian D. Rotherham and Matthew Flinders
27. Tree/House/Street: site lines as fight lines / Fionn Stevenson
28. Why green practitioners need to learn more about engineering and get political! / Russell Horsey
29. Conclusions / Jan Woudstra and Camilla Allen
Jan Woudstra trained in landscape architecture and horticulture in the Netherlands and at Kew and completed an MA at the University of York, at the Institute of Advanced Architectural Studies. His PhD at University College London looked at modernism in twentieth-century landscape design. After having worked in private practice with much tree-related business, he joined the Department of Landscape at the University of Sheffield, where he is a Reader in Landscape History and Theory. He has published widely, including A History of Groves (2018), and Capability Brown, Royal Gardener: The Business of Place-making in Northern Europe (2020).
Camilla Allen is a landscape architect and environmental historian. She completed her doctorate, The Making of the Man of the Trees, in the Department of Landscape Architecture at the University of Sheffield, on the forester and conservationist Richard St. Barbe Baker (1889–1982). Her research focuses on the relationship we have with the natural world which she explores through particular places, people and events like Britain's three tree cathedrals, the designation of special groves within California's coast redwood forest, and the commemorative planting of trees in Sheffield during and after the Great War.
"Deftly weaving together narratives of politics and landscape, this timely book brings a fresh, international perspective to the complex and contested subject of urban trees."
– Tom Williamson, Professor of Landscape History, University of East Anglia, UK
"The book provides unique insights into street trees and the broader politics that shape our cities. A compelling collection of case studies from different points in history and varied places around the world. It is essential reading for anyone interested in urban nature or the politics of urban spaces."
– Tenley Conway, Professor, University of Toronto, Mississauga, Canada
"Decision-makers, technicians, designers, and tree lovers will all benefit from this manifesto on the political dimension of urban trees. Explored within the perspective of long history as well as through recent dissensions around the world, this learned and sensitive work offers a challenging perspective, and enticement to conserve roadside planting as cultural heritage."
– Stéphanie de Courtois, Associate professor at Ecole nationale supérieure d'architecture de Versailles, France
"Street trees not only beautify the cityscape, but city dwellers also often build an emotional bond with them. They play a central role in the discussion about biodiversity and adaptation to climate change. This book provides background information and helps to further develop this crucial component of urban green space in a forward-looking manner."
– Norbert Kühn, Professor, Head of the Department of Vegetation Technology and Planting Design, Technical University, Berlin, Germany