You must head over to Ping Magazine and take a look at this photo-essay on Guerilla Greening in Tokyo. With only 4% of the city allocated for green space and no yards to speak of, residents have found unique ways to garden and green public spaces. What an inspiration!
I found the part about three-tiered bleacher-like stands notable as just the other day I walked past and contemplated bringing home the very same that someone had put out on the curb for garbage day. It struck me as perfect for my roof garden but was made of dense wood, far too heavy for me to carry the long walk home with bags of stuff slung over my shoulders. I’ve got it in my head now to make one this spring.
Beyond the creative ways people are beautifying public space, I was also very taken by this quote about the lack of vandalism in Tokyo and peoples’ attitude towards public gardens as something to be respected.
“One possible reason might be what ethnographies describe as the respect Japanese have for public and private space. To generalize a bit: Everyone plays a part in keeping spaces nice, tidy and orderly for everyone else in Ã¢â‚¬Ëœthe group.Ã¢â‚¬â„¢ This possibly also explains all those times we see strangers picking up other peopleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s rubbish in the streets. As such, (hopefully every) Japanese person would not think of littering or destroying a tiny flowerpot garden since, as a part of a shared common space, it is to be respected.”
Oh how I long for a public attitude of respect and mutual responsibility in my own neighbourhood. I was fascinated by the idea of seeing and experiencing the massive metropolis that is Tokyo in my early 20′s but have lost interest over the years. However, the sight of so much creative greening amidst an intense urban environment is very intriguing.
Thanks to Leela for the link.