Pothole Gardens by Felicity Waters

March 10, 2010

in Articles, General Interest

I was living in Sussex a few moons ago and I was always slightly disorientated. Partly because the roads needed to meander around waterways, topography etc but also because the road corridor in the area was planted with exactly the same plantings over and over again.

The design rationale appeared to me to be “screen the road from everyone and let’s not think how we are going to achieve this screen. Roll out the next 5 miles of woodland hedge.”

Many town bypasses appeared the same as well – there is practically no difference in the landscaping between the bypass of East Grinstead, a town in Sussex, and the bypass to the town outside of the Rodings in Essex. Yet one is north of London and the other is south. Does this seem odd to anyone else?

Does this matter? Well yes because it could be so much better without much extra budget. The landscaping could be more interesting, varied and actually become part of the navigational structure for the road user.

Perhaps the Highway Agency has never been called to defend their design approach.  Is the Highway Agency aware of what is happening in other parts of the world?

Pothole Gardens

Check out this great design approach, UK Highways Agency:

Dear Highway Agency,

You are responsible for some of the most utterly bleak landscapes in the SE of England.

After 5 years of living in the UK the photos below show the best form of roadscaping that I have ever seen in the UK.

Pothole Gardens by Felicity Waters - Image 1

Pothole Gardens by Felicity Waters - Image 2

Pothole Gardens by Felicity Waters - Image 3Please embrace this artist. He is offering you a design approach.

Pete Dungey’s  Pothole Gardens are an ‘ongoing series of public installations highlighting the problem of surface imperfections on Britain’s roads’.

Pete is drawing attention to the potholes in the roads and kindly navigating people away from the holes (and into each other?!) whilst cushioning the impact of potholes.

I believe he has inadvertently produced the most interesting bit of navigational road architecture (using soft materials) this country has ever seen.

For further reading on this subject please refer to my discussion with Noel Kingsbury, and my previous article on Garden Beet.

Felicity Waters

Garden Beet website

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