Using plant life to make an otherwise bland, sterile feature visually appealing is becoming more common in Melbourne. One of those bland and sterile features that we are seeing more of as a result of property development are construction site hoardings which typically comprise of plain wooden panels and a few safety warning signs.
In late 2012, the hoardings erected around the Collins Square office development in Docklands (above) incorporated a green and visually attractive element in the form of a vertical plant wall.
Currently Melbourne City Council charge developers and builders for erecting hoardings (amongst other things) in the form of permit fees and with the amount of hoardings popping up across Melbourne at the moment, collectively that equals quite a bit of revenue for the council and an extra cost for developers. Here's some food for thought, what if council implements a new policy to encourage developers to incorporate greenery into their hoardings, where possible, and in return the developers recieve a small discount on permit fees from the council?
Furthermore, the plants grown within the hoardings could be replanted as part of the completed development. This type of proactive policy would present numerous social and urban benefits by introducing greenery into an active construction zone and create a sense of place for passers by and on-site workers alike. But it does not just have to be plants, murals or famous (and infamous) Australian art works could also be plastered on the hoardings to deliver visual impact and urban serenity.
Multi-disciplinary design firm Klein-Dytham implemented a 274 metre long 'Green Green Screen' in Tokyo's Omotesando while construction was carried out behind over a period of three years. This is a perfect example of construction hoarding green walls that could be installed on many site throughout City of Melbourne. Additional greenery in the midst of development zones is a welcome sight (whether they are temporary or permenant greenery installations) and relevant bodies should be looking at different ways to apply these green initiatives where possible. I think this is a simple and relatively cheap way for both developers and councils to be proactive and to introduce such initiatives.
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