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Last post I said I would post some photos of the landscaping work being done at the Victoria Road entrance of Marrickville Metro.
I love that infrastructure was kept away from the magnificent heritage fig tree planted around 1860. It is an extremely important tree for Marrickville & for Sydney.
I also love that the bench seats do not include a bar to prevent people from lying down. I loathe defensive architecture & the negative message it sends.
Facing Mill house, on the right there is now a lovely small school vegetable garden for local St Pius’ Catholic Primary School & also what appears to be an outdoor classroom area. From memory this area contained a few trees, so to me it looks entirely different. However, it is a nice & useful green space.
I do like that extensive verge gardens have been created down Victoria Street & more gardens behind the temporary fence.
Metro has obviously tried. It is just a pity that the main entrance area is so visually harsh & is also a heat sink. I think they may come to regret this in the years to come.
The dog tie-up area in this location is connecting all dogs to the one pole & although water bowls have been kindly provided, I think the dogs will bake if left here for more than the shortest time. I also think there is a high risk they will get tangled up with each other, which may cause conflict with some dogs who feel anxious or who have a need for personal space.
It is interesting to notice how the community feel a sense of ownership of what is essentially private property. My guess is Metro want the community to feel connected to this shopping centre, which is why they have the community library. Something else that is important is that Metro is a place visited weekly by a large chunk of the community, so how it looks has an impact on how we feel & for many, whether we return or not.
There is the well-known research that found that spending increased by a whopping 11% in leafy shopping strips, so it behoves shop keepers & shopping malls to retain trees & lobby for more trees & greenery outside their shops & in public spaces within the shopping strip. People like trees & tend to linger in green spaces. If they linger, they tend to spend more.
The area outside the main entrance has been the focus of much conversation on Facebook & many people have initiated conversation with me wanting to talk about what has been done here. No-one mentioned the school garden, the chess area, the verge gardens or the tree removal, so I was surprised to see all the other work. Unfortunately, I do not know how many mature trees were removed. What people talked to me about concerned the entrance area & their emotions were strongly on the negative side.
Having looked at the work I think Metro did not succeed with the front entrance, but have done well in the other sections. For me I remember when Metro wanted to remove many of the Figs & other street trees surrounding the centre. I am so glad this has not happened & think it is a major boon for both the community & the wildlife.
Despite that this is a large shopping mall, the streetscape around the centre is quite unique for Marrickville. I personally enjoy walking here & find the trees beautiful. Metro could have so easily made the whole periphery look like the front entrance.
I do think Metro realises the community’s love for the leafy outlook of the shopping centre & their love for the trees. They had a mission to rejuvenate this area & they incorporated aspects that were inclusive to the local school & to anyone in the community who wants to play chess & sit in the shade of the Fig tree. There are good points & not so good points. I have included quite a few photos so you can make up your own mind & so that the good work they have done is not overshadowed by the front entrance.