Act: Inspiration

A Walking Forest in Stuttgart

November 18, 2020

Wanderbaumallee’s walking trees take over Stuttgart, Germany bringing green spaces and shelter, nature, biodiversity and community spaces to the city while championing for citizens’ freedom to change their neighbourhoods.

Wanderbaumallee’s 10 trees and bee-friendly wildflower patches bring green spaces to neighbourhoods around Stuttgart to stay and enrich the area for a few weeks before moving on to their next location. From May to September, mobile units containing the trees, shrubbery and seating areas visit 4-5 neighbourhoods being transported and then cared for by the locals themselves. Moving through the city, Wanderbaumallee makes a striking statement about the need for more green spaces while encouraging locals to get involved in changing their environment. In the autumn, the trees are then planted to allow them to grow, flourish and make their permanent homes in the city.

Hand in hand with more nature and green spaces comes recreational spaces and public, easily accessible spaces for people to relax and repose. Here, public squares, parklets and even the humble bench come in. The trees are mounted on transportable decks that double as benches and resting spaces for the locals once the trees have reached their temporary homes in the city. The trees then act not only as greenery serving the local insects, but also as temporary community spaces offering meeting points, benches and places for the local community to stop, rest or gather.

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While offering the community green spaces to the people of Stuttgart, Wanderbaumallee also highlights the lack of change that citizens can demand and put into action in the city. Originating from a frustration about the city administration’s process of creating guidelines and policies that allow their citizens take part in urbanism, city planning and greening, Wanderbaumallee defy any city regulations so far. It is this that the striking and impressive moving of the trees through the city emphasises. A small greening army of trees forces the city to reconsider its regulations and give more power to the people.

“How do you categorise a tree with wheels by traffic regulations?”

Jesús Martínez, one of the Wanderbaumallee organisers

People near and far are key to the future of Wanderbaumallee. By focusing on one or two neighbourhoods, Wanderbaumallee can test the location and function of their trees and modular bases to create a ready-made plan for permanent greening that can be handed straight to the municipality. Meanwhile, Wanderbaumallee’s vision and work has been adopted in similar initiatives in other cities, such as in Cologne. To help others in their greening activism, Wanderbaumallee is creating an open-source resource for the building and creation of similar Wanderbaumallees globally. So, get in touch with Wanderbaumallee to start a green revolution in your city.

Tags: building resilient cities, green spaces, mobile forests, Placemaking