Trees as Infrastructure
Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Posted by: Dana Walker
We know that achieving our increasingly higher climate mitigation and adaptation targets
means learning to design and live in cities in radically different ways. It will require us to rethink the morphology of our streets, our consumption habits, our human development and economic growth principles, and our intimate relations with plants and animal species.
Trees have existed before us and will continue to exist after we have gone. We have been cohabiting with trees for centuries, but at this moment we live alongside a highly processed urban forestry environment which has increasingly been ‘optimised’ to align with distorted economic and operational principles. How can we re-learn to appreciate urban trees for their true value, empathise with their needs to thrive, and actively ‘cooperate’ with them to achieve better outcomes in our cities? What will it take to break free from our perverse procurement and distribution models of green infrastructure to augment natural growth cycles? As anthropologist Eduardo Kohn writes, “To engage with the forest on its terms, to enter its relational logic, to think with its thoughts, one must become attuned to these.”