Car Park Forest
Transforming a concrete car park into a thriving urban forest
Mechelen Forest will rewild a car park on the edge of Mechelen city and restore a flourishing ecosystem, brimming with biodiversity. This peaceful space will serve to support both people and planet. In its current state, the 1500 Sq m area is a generator of pollution, as fumes from gathering cars are expelled into the atmosphere. This will be actively reversed by planting a SUGi Pocket Forest. Using the Miyawaki method and planting only native trees, the site will become a crucial, protected corridor in which wildlife and flora can thrive.
The forest will also enable local residents — including the children visiting a nearby farm and playground — to breathe cleaner air and observe ‘rewilding’ in action.
Forest Maker Nicolas de Brabandère
Forest Report: 6 Months
Survival Rate: 98%
Average of Tallest 3 Trees: 250cm
Car Park Forest is growing very nicely, despite the drought during it 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.
Forest Report: Planting
“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