The Roaming Forest is a project selected and developed for the Biennale of Landscape Urbanism: Timing 2010. It is an urban intervention that explores the making and remaking of public spaces through the hands of individuals, groups of people, and the city government. Following the lifecycle of a nursery-grown tree, the project begins with saplings planted in vacant lots before they are transplanted to mobile containers and moved around the city to create public spaces. As the containers deteriorate the trees are planted where they stand.

The construction process:

0. Identify and plant: vacant municipal lots in Bat Yam have been identified for small, locally run, tree nurseries. The trees have been transplanted, as in common practice for tree nurseries, after two years to strengthen the roots.

1. Assemble and propagate: the trees have been transplanted into small, medium and large portable structures made from reused timber and recycled cardboard. The design of the structures varies between the permanent and the temporal – maximizing function, movement and adaptability; while the selection of tree species was chosen for their suitability for movement, containerization and planting.

2. Move and use: The hybrid forest of structures and trees was placed in abandoned, vacant and un-used spaces near the Biennale sites. From these locations the forest would have tried engagement with the formal and the informal influences of the city through movement and use. Each structure was designed to be pushed, rolled or lifted by one person, a group of people or mechanically with a lifting device. From small to large it was possible to anticipate informal to formal movement of trees across the Bat Yam landscape. Individuals could place trees to create landmarks along routes; groups could arrange trees to make pocket parks or community spaces; while formal (municipal) authorities could move trees to create new avenues, parks and public spaces.

3. Adapt and plant: these structures and trees are used, moved and reused. When they were no longer useful in one location they were moved to another. The informal movement of these structures and trees was formalized when the trees took root into the landscape site. Different combinations of timber and cardboard promoted varying life-spans for the structures – and as they degraded – the trees were planted where they stand.

The project explores the temporalities of landscape and tensions between the planned and lived nature of public spaces. This biennale, curated by Yael Moria-Klain and Sigal Barnir, offered the city of Bat-Yam as a laboratory for examining alternative uses for urban space. Landscape architects, artists and architects were invited to reinvent the spaces, processes and conditions that give rise to conditions of temporality in the city.

The Roaming Forest was published in Landscape: The Journal of the Landscape InstituteLandscape Architecture NetworkAbitareTopos, and the Institute for Urban Design. It was exhibited in: Timing 2010: Biennale of Landscape Urbanism, Bat Yam; Bottom-Up: EME3 International Festival of Architecture, Barcelona; Going Green in the City: From Garden City to Green City, Garden Museum, London.

Project details

Design: Project Studio / Ed Wall, Mike Dring, Yael Bar-Maor Landscape Architects / Yael Bar-Maor
Project Location: Bat Yam, Israel | then exhibited in Barcelona, Spain / London, England
Typology: Urban forestry, installation
Built: 2010
Thanks: Yael Moria-Klain, Sigal Barnir, curatorial and construction teams
Photo credits: © Roy Fabian, Shiri Fundaminsky, Yael Bar-Maor

Project Studio

Project Studio

Project Studio employs design experimentation and research to explore practices of public space within processes of making landscapes and cities – focusing on concerns for social and environmental justice. The studio was founded by Ed Wall in 2007 as a platform for collaboration between professional practice and academia. Interdisciplinary projects range from regional plans to curated exhibitions, working with organisations including the Landscape Institute, Architecture Foundation, Arts Council and Landscape Urbanism Biennale.

Yael Bar-Maor Landscape Architects

Yael Bar-Maor Landscape Architects

The studio was founded in 2008 by Yael Bar-Maor, landscape architect and urban designer. The team is experienced in landscape architecture, urban design and planning. They believe landscape architecture is a medium of exchange between the social and the natural environment. They create environments that set the stage for everyday social interactions. The designs they practice are aimed to promote healthy, inclusive, more just public spaces and their design processes are based on a pragmatic and site-specific approach.