More urban green spaces? ... (climbing street) AS-SMART TREE

19. 9. 2022

The urban heat islands (UHI) produce negative effects to the metropolitan microclimate. As built-up, impenetrable areas in cities are spreading over, the pressure brought on urban vegetation is getting increasingly severe. At present, the modern development is carried in the spirit of the blue-green infrastructure. Full-grown trees seem to represent an ideal element for microclimate improvements. Nevertheless, due to significant networking below the ground level and risks connected with spreading of both roots and treetops, a full-grown tree is often considered as a nuisance or a risk. Therefore, as an alternative solution, we offer the so-called AS-SMART TREE. They represent a unique and protected utility design.

The AS-SMART TREE consist of a robust steel construction (made of stainless steel or hot-dip galvanized steel components) serving as a supporting structure for climbing plants. The construction can be modularly erected and additionally fitted with street lamps, water-misting systems, as well as other elements positively improving the metropolitan environment. We believe that this construction will find its use mainly there, where – for various local reasons – conventional trees cannot be planted cost-effectively and/or under sustainable conditions.

It is not our intention to replace live trees, but to spread out greenery even there, where it is (for layout reasons) otherwise impossible and helping thus to enhance the municipal biodiversity.

From 30 to 31 August 2022, the first installation of climbing plant, AS-SMART TREE Singapore, in the Czech Republic, at a public area of the city development of the Capital City of Prague, took place. The installation of these structures was carried out in cooperation with a group of Czech companies, Czech universities, and governmental authorities. In total, two stainless-steel structures were installed apart in some 400-metre distance. One in the locality of Hradčanská Tube Station, while the other in Dejvická Street in the direction to Vítězné Square. The structure is anchored to a special prefab flowerpot, which is – in addition - fitted with a circular bench and two street lamps for public lighting purposes. In the locality of Hradčanská Tube Station, the structure was additionally fitted with a water mist system.

We adopted the idea of a standalone structure providing the shade contour comparable to a tree for difficult city nodes, where municipal services or other obstacles did not allow planting a tree and, at the same time, to create a pressure to architects for reducing - to a maximum degree possible – the effect of city thermal trees.

In consideration of the project originality, we had applied for and after the processing obtained, the registered trademark and the utility model with the relevant patent authority. The first structure had been installed within the premises of our company in Brno at Kšírova Street, in 2021. Due to this installation, we were able to verify the installation work procedures and therefore to offer an integrated final product.

popínavý uliční strom AS-POUSTR

The pilot installation in Prague was conceived as replacements of the existing street lampposts. Therefore, the installation included replacements of conventional lampposts with the AS-SMART TREE Singapore structures. In the Singapore construction, the lamps are situated at the height of more than five metres. In addition, the “treetop” diameter extends to almost over five metres and so that the structure should offer pleasant shading in hot summer days.

We managed to deal with both selected localities within two days. In the first day, prefab sections, already fitted with the circular bench, were placed using a crane, in order to erect and anchor the main mast (the “trunk”) in both localities. Using a cherry picker, the “treetops” were installed in both places during the second day. Simultaneously, throughout the “treetops” installation, the concrete flower pots were filled with structured substrate and planted with various climbing plants. The selection of the climbing plants was provided by the Czech University of Life Sciences Prague.

In the first tree, these plants were represented by species of Akebia quinata, Clematis x Jackmanii (various cultivars), Vitis vinifera, Lonicera heckrottii, and Lonicera henryi, while in the second tree its structure was even extended with Wisteria sinensis.

chytrý strom AS-POUSTR _ popínavé rostliny

For the optimal case, we consider the possibility of supplying the water mist system with captured rainwater distributed to individual nozzles by a pump over a tertiary cleaning unit (sanitisation).

Due to the structurally defined construction, potential interested parties may choose additional accessories according to their own designs and/or locally-specific needs. In this way, we do not mean only the public lighting system, circular bench, or water mist, but also (for example) charging points for electric bikes, electric cars or, as the case may be, mobile phones, system for signalling car park vacancies, etc. No imaginings in such cases are limited, provided that the accessories meet the system aesthetic and functional features.

chytrý strom AS-POUSTR _ lavička

The concept of our constructions is aimed to enhance the green places and biodiversity in cities. Under no account we attempt to replace real trees with our constructions. They serve as greenery elements solely in places, where trees could not be otherwise planted.

In the conclusion, we would like to express a desire that the plants grow well on our structures. They will spread quickly over the whole structure and offer a place for sitting in the “lamppost” shade during the day to the passers-by.

chytrý strom AS-POUSTR

We would like to express our gratitude to all the people participating in the pilot installation works.