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Friday, February 3, 2006


I was putzing around over at Pruned yesterday, and I came across this old post about cellular infrastructure. Apparently, some companies now design cell phone towers to look like various kinds of trees, in an effort to make them blend in (and pass muster with politicians who decide whether they get built or not). Though I suppose in some situations they might look better than a normal cell phone tower, it seems to me that they probably usually just look silly. From what I've seen, most of them are stick-straight and obviously fake; you've got to wonder who would see one of those things and be fooled. ("Gee, honey, look at that beautiful perfectly straight, too-tall tree with all the robotic machinery coming out of the top and the giant drum attached to the side! Is that a new cyborg breed of palm tress?")

Most of the cell phone tower fake trees seem to be manufactured in California, a part of the country with a decidedly different ecology and landscape from our town. Out of curiosity, I walked out on our roof to think about what effect such a "tree" would have on the St. Louis landscape. I didn't see any trees that stuck out that high--most of the ones I did see didn't go much further than two stories tall, even in this older part of the city. What stuck out above the urban canopy? Well, based on what I saw, I propose a St. Louis version of disguised cell phone towers:

1. Cell phone towers designed to look like the smokestacks of defunct historic German factories
2. Cell phone towers designed to look like the steeples of shuttered historic Catholic churches
3. Cell phone towers designed to look like The Gateway Arch--all over the city, you'd see little, three-story-tall arches with people standing underneath them on cell phones. If the Arch is being used to sell t-shirts, and its likeness is in just about every logo in the city, this is the logical next step!
4. Cell phone towers designed to look like standpipe water towers--no one will be fooled!
5. Cell phone towers designed to look like cell phone towers

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