As I drove, it slowly dawned on me that when it comes to streetscapes, there's "nearly right" and there's "just right". And the indicator of "just right" - for me at least - is a strong sense of peacefulness. That, and a desire not to leave.
So I started thinking about the physical attributes that make a streetscape "just right" (for me) and I decided these four were the most important:
- the trees create a sense of enclosure over the road
- the spacing of the trees allows both light and shade but the shade is dominant
- the shade is dappled, not solid
- the trees are healthy - ie the leaves are green, not chlorotic*
This avenue of Cape Lilacs in D'erlanger Ave, Adelaide is close but dips out on the second attribute…ie the light to shade ratio isn't quite right. Taken as a whole, the road appears as a strip of light with blobs of shade on it.
What works better in a hot climate is the reverse...ie the road appears essentially shaded with occasional pools of light in it.
I actually did find one that I thought was perfect and it definitely passed the "so-peaceful-I-don't-want-to-leave" test. But by then I was running out of time to get my hire car back so I didn't get out and photograph it. I wish I had now.
* This factor is often not given the weight it deserves. I also talk about it in this post about Jacarandas on the Perth sand plain.