Landscape, Ecology and Trees

Eye of York as explored by people on the Gathering Green: Look at Your City Walk, 12th July 2019

A biodiverse and green area in which to relax and spend time was a strong theme. Trees, in particular, have a very special place in people’s hearts, they are seen as giving life, shelter, shade and making an area feel humane, safe and pleasant. While some might see trees as getting in the way of the view, for others, trees can be the view and signpost and lead people to and through the area.

Bringing the Open Brief to life. In the future, what are people doing?

People are sitting under the shade of a tree in summer, watching the world go by. #GatheringPlace

Feeling that spaces are green and natural, despite surfaces being hardwearing and usable all-year-round. #GatheringPlace

People notice the sound of nearby traffic less and hear the sound of leaves in the trees more. Carefully choosen planting brings new smells to the spaces. #GatheringPlace

People are aware of key views, such as from the base of Clifford’s Tower towards the Ouse, because they are framed by, or defined by, trees. #GatheringPlace #GatheringHeritage #GatheringWithWater

People are enjoying the river views and look over towards Piccadilly where the new buildings are integrated with the landscape on both sides of Foss. #GatheringPlace #GatheringGreen

Watching birds, spotting signs of otters and seeing a rich range of wild flowers as part of a day out. #GatheringPlace #GatheringGreen

Landscape, Ecology and Trees: Design Challenges

  • There is a clear wish that, despite being an urban space and needing to function all year and in all weathers, the spaces should feel green and feature planting and trees. This will require careful design in terms of types of trees and planting arrangements (to avoid a repeat of Parliament Street where roots have pushed up the paving stones) and consideration of maintenance.
  • Trees are important and there is a wish for there to be more trees than currently in the area as well as a recognition that the right tree needs to be in the right place.
  • Acknowledging that trees sometimes block views, some pointed out that trees can sometimes “be the view” and can also signpost significant features.
  • There is acceptance that some trees are in the way of change and could be removed/replaced.
  • Developing an approach to landscaping that creates a richer ecology, and also helps interpret the past of the place.