City and town planners have an extraordinary number of different factors to take into account when deciding on how to adapt an urban centre to cope with all of the demands modern life can put on it. Developing means of accommodating greater populations in cities that do not have the space to grow quickly enough presents enormous challenges to planners and they require the implementation of innovative solutions to cope with them. The problem can be particularly acute in smaller cities based around medieval centres as in Prague or Dublin where the historical importance of various buildings prevents large scale adaptations. But it is not only in the large scale factors like infrastructure that the planners have to take special care. Seemingly small details like the effective use of planters in cities can make the difference between a city that works well and a city that people really love to live in.
Even in a well ordered, well laid out city filled with modern complexes and architecturally appealing high-rises life in such a city can quickly become dull and stifling. Constantly being surrounded by the sharp corners, angular windows and grey walls of city structures can make inhabitants of cities uninspired and longing to live somewhere more vibrant. Planters are an effective means of combating the potential of a city to become drab and featureless. By installing planters city planners can bring life to city streets in an efficient and effective way.
While planters themselves are relatively cost effective the maintenance and management of the plant life planted in them is a more substantial investment, not just in financial terms but also in time. Even a small decorative tree grown in a planter can take several years to reach maturity. That tree can be easily damaged or even destroyed by petty vandalism, over watering, or by disease. For this reason urban planners must consider carefully where and how they are going to install planters and how they will manage the plant life once it is in place. Extra maintenance operatives may need to be hired if there are to be a large number of planters put into a particular area.
However, if implemented correctly the vitality and vibrancy plant life brings to an area can change that area’s character dramatically. As the plant life changes its form and its colour through the changing of the seasons it alters the surrounding cityscape, creating a fluid, constantly changing environment as opposed to a stagnant, inanimate one. Even in winter when trees have shed their leaves the diverging branches gently break up the harsh lines of concrete structures overhead.
Other options for bringing greenery into an urban area include planting larger trees directly into sidewalks or pavements. Again they can be a substantial investment but where there is room they can make an enormous difference to the quality of life for people living and working in the city. Office workers who may have previously had only a view of the adjacent building now have the dancing leaves of a tree to gaze out at.