The idea of integrating cities, urban dwellers and urban landscape with animals and plants is not something new anymore. We look at how one example of urban gardening can adapt to the ever-smaller urban landscapes of the 21st century.
A recent study titled ‘Cities support more native biodiversity than previously thought’ will make you think differently about urban gardening – not as a hobby, but as a biodiversity stock for hundreds of bird species and thousands of plant species. But wait, behind the backdrop of being environmentally friendly and preserving biodiversity, can urban gardening do more than that?
Social Media Week (SMW) is a multi-city global conference that aims to examine and bring together ideas about tools, technologies and emerging trends within a specific region that are changing the world and connecting people in a way we had not imagined before. With 'Engineering Sustainability' as one of the core themes, SMW 2012 in Hong Kong invited green start-up enterprise Time to Grow to set up a roof top vegetable garden in a very dense part of the commercial area of Hong Kong. They spread the word on urban farming using a rooftop laneway garden – the Garden of Lovely - hoping to let the Hong Kong public rethink the relationship between humanity, art and nature.
The garden successfully involved a big crowd of local artists and the public to interact with one another through arts and crafts. They also invited a music company to test the conclusions of Dorothy Retallack’s experiments from the 1970s about the potential impacts of positive music on plant growth. No matter the results, Hong Kong urban dwellers had a chance to witness how to turn the city’s useless urban spaces into a sustainable, green (and edible!) urban landscape.
Have a look at this 30 second video clip that introduces the idea of the Garden of Lovely - be creative, be green and have fun in an urban setting.
It’s a fact that social media speeds up our connections with people and the rest of the world; however, there are always two sides of the coin. We should question ourselves: does the increasing use of social media enable us to be more focussed and have more time (and create less carbon footprint in a sense that physical meetings can be substituted by web-conferencing)? I think ‘The Garden of Lovely’ is a good example to let us think about the above question; to help us find peace of mind in an urban setting through gardening and arts — to balance and preserve humanity, the ability to listen, to engage and to be present in spite of noises and constant disruptions that technologies provide.