RAPHAEL Z FOGEL
URBAN MICRO GARDENS
PUBLIC SPACE INSTALLATION
The pandemic emphasizes the benefits and shortage of urban green spaces. Especially in times of isolation and confinement, they offer safe and communal outdoor spaces and contribute to our physical and mental well-being. They stimulate our senses and allow for modes of dwelling which radically differ from what we can experience throughout the rest of the city.
Urban green spaces are a valuable and limited resource. As cities grow and become denser parks and gardens become more exclusive. During lockdowns this condition was amplified as parks and gardens became solely available to those living within their vicinity.
How can we make green spaces more accessible? How can we introduce them within built urban areas? What novel experiences can these provide when integrated into the existing streetscape?
Cylinders of various sizes intersect to form Islands containing a combination of planters and areas for dwelling. Trees provide shading and plants separate one dwelling area from the next. Islands possess a diverse, playful and non-prescriptive range of conditions for people to inhabit. Some areas might be suitable for individuals, while others cater to small groups. They provide a place to reconnect with colleagues during a lunch break, to sunbath with a friend we haven’t seen for months, to meditate, or to take a moment alone as the world returns to a faster pace.
The broader implications of the project on public space in a post-pandemic future can be far reaching. If implemented in large enough numbers, micro-gardens could have a cumulative effect. They could improve air quality, increase biodiversity by providing habitats for non-humans, and even cool our warming cities. Weaving fragments of nature into existing city fabrics could significantly improve the quality of life for city residents, helping to heal from this pandemic and begin to address the environmental and ecological challenges ahead.