Whenever a type of tree is planted or felled in the streets, scientists usually consider scientific arguments to analyse suitable varieties; meanwhile the majority of people feel nostalgic and dispirited.
The rows of green trees on Phan Dinh Phung Street
Hanoians have their own kinds of trees, from rows of sau (dracontomelum) along Phan Dinh Phung Street, com nguoi (hackberry) and bang lang (crape myrtles) to hoa sua (milk flowers) and hoang lan (ylang ylang) trees on Dien Bien street.
Living a hectic life in dusty streets, rows of green trees make people feel comfortable and restful. Hanoians have many memories intertwined with trees. The capital has many nacre trees as hundreds of years ago French people brought this kind of tree from Africa to Hanoi. The areas around Hoan Kiem lake as well as Hoang Dieu, Le Hong Phong, Kim Ma and Nguyen Trai streets, are naturally decorated with xa cu (nacre trees). However, they are prone to falling down during the stormy season, causing heavy damages.
Many people, including scientists, have said that it is necessary to fell and remove the nacre trees on the streets. However, when the rows of nacres on Kim Ma, Nguyen Trai and Pham Van Dong Streets were cut to serve the expansion of roads and the construction of metro lines, Hanoians felt sad and regretful.
Many new kinds of trees, such as co dau (oil palm) and phong la do (red birch), have been planted on a lot of streets in Hanoi. Many people have doubts about their endurance, especially the red birch trees on Tran Duy Hung and Nguyen Chi Thanh streets. Nevertheless, it is believed that Hanoians will gradually become closer and familiar with these trees.
However, many people wonder if the new trees will be felled and moved to other places. Tree-felling projects highlight Hanoians' deep and spiritual ties with the city's trees. Giant trees along Pham Van Dong Street were moved for its expansion and a lot of the trees on centre dividers in Nguyen Chi Thanh Street had to be cut off. The capital’s authorities once planted keo (acacia) and milk flower trees enthusiastically, but ten years later they have recognised that they are the wrong type of tree and need to be replaced.
It is possible that not many people are concerned about which trees are planted on the streets, but they always take an interest in the cutting down and relocation of trees. During the resistance war against American imperialism several decades ago, trees along Thanh Nien streets had to be cut down because they were obstructing anti-aircraft guns. Although chopping down the trees was an urgent task, the image of the trees falling down left a profound sadness on Hanoians.
Essentially, urban designers and builders need to consider carefully and listen public opinions whenever making plans for felling green trees in the capital.