Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Moving light

"Continued observation of the best streets allows for the strong conclusion that deciduous trees are more often appropriate than evergreens. Deciduous trees permit sunlight to reach the street in winter when it is either most needed or least a problem. Their leaf patterns are almost always less dense than those of non-deciduous trees* and the leaves move more, subject to even slight wind changes; they permit light - mottled, moving light - to penetrate to the pedestrian, and this quality is characteristic of the best streets. Exceptions are easily found…. but overwhelmingly one finds deciduous trees on great streets"

"Great Streets", Allan B. Jacobs, p294  (The MIT Press)

Here's a good local example of what Jacobs is talking about:

Centro Ave, Subiaco (click to enlarge)

* When Jacobs says the leaf patterns of non-deciduous trees are "almost always less dense than those of non-deciduous trees" he is referring to northern hemisphere evergreens - conifers basically. Our large Eucalypts (evergreen) don't have these dense leaf patterns but do have other issues when
used as street trees.

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