Turning Space into a Place Pop-Up Urban Gardening.
We are really great in Green Edge at coming up with catchy one liners. They are snappy on social media and keep us looking fresh and hip.
We are so much more than soundbites and great photography and clever quips though. We recently worked with a big corporation on an Engagement project because of our unique approach.
Funnily enough Green Edge – Esther, Róisín, Elish and Marion – are very, very good at talking but also at listening.
We do it in such a way that puts people at their ease and it always results in those people learning a new skill.
We use the opportunity to talk about gardening, urban greening, growing food, making cold city spaces a bit more green and inviting and we show people how to plant or how to prune or how to dig. This edgy approach has been the backbone and the core of every project we do.
Summer 2018 saw us hanging a rainbow over the roof-garden high above Temple Bar’s Ark, the Children’s Cultural Centre. We were commissioned to do a greening project with them for Cruinniú na nÓg in June which we called “Birds in the City”.
It was a roof-down / street-up project to highlight urban bird life and create a permanent habitat for birds in Dublin city at the Ark. We worked with a group of 40 ten year old boys who all made birds from recycled stuff and natural materials.
The kids designed the whole project and we facilitated it. They wanted to make a rainbow over the building and wanted to provide lots of food for birds all along the front of the old Quaker meeting house.
We worked with them over a two month stint and the end results were gorgeous. The Ark looked spectacular for the Minister’s visit on the big day for Cruinniú na nÓg – fruit and flowers growing in window boxes, a rose arch, a giant rainbow draped over the side of the building linking the street level with the roofgarden 3 storeys up.
Making ‘The Ark’ a beacon for bird life, insects and flowers, by creating habitats, awareness and artworks which connect space to place resulted in the children learning how they can become active champions in sustainable initiatives that can improve our city.
The Ark’s staff then looked after the window boxes and reaped the rewards of the produce growing over the summer months. Strawberries dangled over the edges and bees buzzed through the flowers. Biodiver-City in the heart of Temple Bar. Lovely. The Ark staff all sprang into action too and lots started growing veggies at home and getting interested in their own patches in their downtime. We were thrilled! We had hit that sweet spot of watching the Ark being a leader in promoting and educating nature based activities, as well as the staff becoming empowered and motivated to bring those skills home. That’s very rich engagement and connection.
So what next? Well we are scheming, plotting and planning. We are dreaming up lots of cool events for the next few months. We want to get Dublin greener – a Green 2019. But not just more street trees installed by City Council, although that’s always needed. We want to do projects with groups of people getting them to grow anything. We want to connect people with their neighbours through greening projects and activities. We’d like to have more re-using of rubbish in creative ways.
Our work explores the power of temporary use to showcase how we can make cities more liveable through simple changes.
We are always looking for Inspiring Projects that connect city spaces to create valued places.
As Jan Gehl, the renowned public space expert said, “If you design for cars you get cars, while if you design for people you will get people”. Our response as city dwellers has been to create events to green our concreted spaces and bring people into these spaces, to turn them into places in which to linger and make memories. It has been an incredible journey and we have made tons of friends since our first BloomFringe gig in 2014. Come hang out with us on social media or get in touch and let us know what you’d like to do to make your urban area greener.
Marion Keogh Green Edge January 2019