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Integrating Hedgerow into Town Planning: A Framework for Sustainable Residential Development

Authors: Siqing Chen

Abstract:

The vast rural landscape in the southern United States is conspicuously characterized by the hedgerow trees or groves. The patchwork landscape of fields surrounded by high hedgerows is a traditional and familiar feature of the American countryside. Hedgerows are in effect linear strips of trees, groves, or woodlands, which are often critical habitats for wildlife and important for the visual quality of the landscape. As landscape interfaces, hedgerows define the spaces in the landscape, give the landscape life and meaning, and enrich ecologies and cultural heritages of the American countryside. Although hedgerows were originally intended as fences and to mark property and townland boundaries, they are not merely the natural or man-made additions to the landscape--they have gradually become “naturalized" into the landscape, deeply rooted in the rural culture, and now formed an important component of the southern American rural environment. However, due to the ever expanding real estate industry and high demand for new residential development, substantial areas of authentic hedgerow landscape in the southern United States are being urbanized. Using Hudson Farm as an example, this study illustrated guidelines of how hedgerows can be integrated into town planning as green infrastructure and landscape interface to innovate and direct sustainable land use, and suggest ways in which such vernacular landscapes can be preserved and integrated into new development without losing their contextual inspiration.

Keywords: Hedgerow, Town planning, Sustainable design, Ecological infrastructure

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.1333670

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