Can landscape architects really camouflage the ubiquitous cell
By Anthony Flint
It's impossible to miss, driving either direction on the Hutchinson
Parkway near the exit for Mamaroneck, New York: what looks like
a giant toilet brush, 150 feet tall. Its smooth handle sticks up
from the median in a clearing just beyond a service station, and
its top is bold and bristly and dark green. It dominates the landscape
so much that people slow down to gawk at it, perhaps wondering if
it is the proud symbol of the gas station's restroom janitor or
a grander monument to cleaner bathrooms everywhere.
The structure is a cell tower, however, dressed up with plastic
and wire to look like a pine tree. But the "toilet brush" description
is common usage among landscape architects when they describe the
most simplistic attempts at camouflage. Some strategies to mitigate
the visual impact of cell towers, they say, are a bit like the earliest
cell phones themselvesclunky and awkward. Today's design professional's
challenge is to bring creativity and imagination to the task of
disguising cell towers, as communities across the country increasingly
demand a minimal profile for the ubiquitous structures.
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