Baum Grove - Kasachstan
>>>Baum Grove: Return to the forest
Why is this case relevant?
The Baum Grove is the unique natural park with a century-old history and an area of 139,5 hectares, which is located in the middle of Almaty, the biggest city of the Republic of Kazakhstan. The grove is called “the lungs of the city”, which literally provides oxygen to a good half of Almaty. It is the largest, and oldest forested part of the city with over 100 thousand trees. The Baum Grove was planted in 1868 and further developed by Edward Baum, a forest scientist and from 1875 a forest auditor of the region of present Almaty, who also was a chairman of the regional agricultural society for 25 years. This man arrived in an empty plain at the foot of the mountains and created “the city of gardens” – modern Almaty. He conducted a large selection work and introduced atypical for the region types of trees and shrubs - 61 species of trees and 52 types of shrubs, 74 varieties of apple trees, 49 varieties of pears and other fruit trees. The most visible of his legacy in Almaty - the Baum Grove, which carries his name.
Which idea of ‘design with nature’ guides the design concept of this site?
The Baum Grove is a natural monument that has a wild natural look. The Baum Grove is under special protection, thus legislation does not allow to cut trees and carry out other works in it. Over the years of neglect, the green zone has turned into an abandoned and even life-threatening place. Several generations of Almaty citizens preferred to bypass the Baum Grove because of its bad glory. The current state of the grove requires restoration of the green area and landscaping. Due to the special status of the zone, it is necessary to create comfortable conditions for the recreation of citizens with minimal impact on the environment and retention of its appearance of wild nature.
Which challenges is this landscape facing?
Over the years of neglect, the Baum Grove has turned into an abandoned and even life-threatening place. It is considered one of the most criminal sites in Almaty: attacks, robbery and attempted rape often occur there. Therefore, Almaty citizens prefer to bypass the Baum Grove because of its bad reputation. The current state of the grove requires sanitary cleaning, restoration of the green area and landscaping. The grove is full of dead fallen trees and piles of garbage. The work is already underway on the improvement of the entrance group and the pedestrian zones, the installation of lights, bins, benches and security booths. Saturday voluntary works such as cleaning and planting trees carry out regularly as well.
What would be your strategy for improvement?
The restoration of the grove has already begun. The chosen approach includes cleaning, installation of benches and lighting, and patrol the area in order to prevent the crime. Regarding a possible strategy from my point of view, I would consider zoning of the area for various activities such as playgrounds, sport zones, camping areas, educational gardens etc. and providing combined pedestrian and bicycle routes through the grove in order to lead more visitors to all corners of the grove and activate the entire space.
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