Car Park Forest
Transforming a concrete car park into a thriving urban forest.
This SUGi Pocket Forest has rewilded a car park on the edge of Mechelen city and restored a flourishing ecosystem, brimming with biodiversity. This peaceful space serves to support both people and planet. In its former state, the 1500 Sq m area was a generator of pollution, as fumes from gathering cars were expelled into the atmosphere. This has been actively reversed by planting a pocket forest. Using the Miyawaki method and planting only native trees, the site has become a crucial, protected corridor in which wildlife and flora are able to thrive.
The forest also enables local residents, including the children visiting a nearby farm and playground, to breathe cleaner air and observe ‘rewilding’ in action.
Nicolas de Brabandère
Average of Tallest 3 Trees
Car Park Forest is growing very nicely, despite the drought during its first summer. The new trees are nicely sheltered by the large trees already present, which we think has contributed to the high survival rate. The forest was also watered once by the municipality.
The tallest trees are already over 250cm, which means growth of over 2m in just over six months. The adjacent park with its petting zoo is going to include the grove in the lessons they teach about biodiversity. You constantly see people with prams and children walking past it. Occasionally, someone is already sitting on the tree trunks that serve as benches. A local artist is also using this pocket forest as inspiration. It is certainly bringing joy to visitors and local people!
Various non-planted species, as well as fungi, are now thriving in this pocket forest, including: common purslane (Portulaca oleracea), large orange cup mushroom (Aleuria aurantia), large cheesewort (Malva neglecta), fingerwort (Lepidozia reptans), creeping buttercup (Ranunculus repens), day cuckoo flower (Cardamine pratensis).
Frogs have been seen in the forest and there is evidence of foxes too.
“Trees can do without people. But man, a city, a village, a neighbourhood cannot exist without trees...we are working towards a city where greenery is not a filler for leftover plots, but the solid blue-green network that embraces and supports the city.”
Patrick Princen, Alderman for Public Works, Nature and Green Development in Mechelen