I'm writing a second draft of my final project proposal for Green Cities, and I got a little more feelings-y than I intended to when I got to the bit about solar panels, so I'm going to repost it here for my blog post today.
(In a section on intended specific design elements)
Solar trees -- These would probably have phone chargers or other useful electronic elements connected to them, but mainly I'd like to put them in all over the place because I've noticed in my time at Hampshire so far that I have a much stronger sense of the cardinal directions, and consequently my physical presence in a place on earth, because I know which direction the solar panels point. I think solar arrays evoke a sense of connection with the natural world, beyond just the immediate "I'm near plants and animals" kind, but of our physical being in a massive cosmos, and the existence of natural forces that are within our ability to harness but not manipulate or control. I think their presence as a physical symbol helps counterbalance both the egocentric feeling that humans are in full control of the environment, and the solipsistic feeling evoked by hyper-commercialized strips and suburban life.