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Design Review: Volume 3, Issue 4 (January-February 1951)

Here and There

page 86

Here and There

No one, I imagine, would deny the beauty and even nobility which trees can bring to an otherwise undistinguished street. And no one would question the convenience and utility of electric power. But when is the awful conflict of the leaves and the wires to be settled in the streets of our towns and cities? It has become completely obvious that the trees and the poles won't mix, and we must either bury the cables and give the trees a chance to throw out their branches, or stick to our wires and forget about any form of planting.

The pathetic results of trying to mix the two can be seen almost anywhere in our towns. Generally the trees are planted immediately beneath the overhead wires, so that it is only a matter of time before the topmost branches must be ruthlessly and expensively cut back.

The main street of one of our provincial towns is lined with mature London Planes whose hideously deformed limbs give evidence of years of brutal hacking, until I'm sure that the most insensitive passer-by would rather see them put out of their misery and removed altogether.

And the planting of smaller varieties of trees does not solve the problem. To give the necessary scale and dignity to our suburban streets the trees must be tall, but roof-high planting merely accentuates the dull uniformity of the skyline.

So it seems that we must wipe the wires or the trees. But for the sake of leafy avenues yet unborn, let's have some action — one way or the other.