Grow for Gold – A Garden for the Games in London

Thousands of people across the UK have already signed up to be London 2012 ‘Local Leaders’ who will bring friends, families and neighbours together to celebrate the Olympic Games. The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) has now announced ideas and expert tips on how green-fingered Local Leaders and gardening novices alike can ‘Garden for the Games’.

Gardeners of all levels of abilities and experience can visit london2012.com/localleaders for advice on how to ‘Grow for Gold’ by filling the window boxes and hanging baskets on their street with golden marigolds, the London 2012 colours or the national colours of their favourite team competing in the Games.

Local Leaders can also find out how to grow their own patch of bee-friendly wildflowers like the spectacular golden meadows that will surround the Olympic Stadium during the Games and get tips from expert gardener Phil Turvil on how to create floral Olympic Rings or the Paralympic Agitos in their garden.

Gardeners are already taking up the opportunity to encourage local people to enjoy the Games and gardening together. To welcome the Olympic Torch-residents at Portesham in Dorset are planting golden marigolds while children at a nursery in Essex are creating the Olympic Rings out of painted tyres filled with flowers.

LOCOG Chair Seb Coe said: “We are a nation of gardeners and Local Leaders are using London 2012 as an opportunity to get friends, family and neighbours together to brighten up their area and build on our proud gardening heritage. Garden for the Games is a chance for the green-fingered to show off their skills and novices of all ages to learn about gardening and wildlife in their neighbourhood.”

Des Smith, Head Gardener for the London 2012 Gardens in the Olympic Park, said: “Whether you are planning to celebrate the Games with either the Olympic Rings, the Paralympic Agitos or backing Team GB with a red, white and blue floral display, you can get advice and support from your local garden centre or nursery and pick the most pollen-rich, bee and butterfly-friendly flowers.”

Garden for the Games is part of the London 2012 Local Leaders programme, an Organising Committee first which invites people across the UK to bring friends, family and neighbours together and create their own Games celebrations.

Further information: london2012.com

 

Urban farming in Brooklyn, New York: 596 acres

Brooklyn is one of the five biggest districts of New York: More than 2,5 million people live here. The city of New York owns thousands of slivers of unused land, and about a year ago, a group of Brooklyn gardeners had an idea: identify all the vacant lots in the borough, then help neighborhood residents take them over.

They built an online map, then a mobile app with information about the plots, including the names and phone numbers of the agencies that owned them. They called themselves “596 ACRES”, after the total area of unused public land in Brooklyn, according to city data 2010. If even a small portion of that was committed to neighborhood food production, there would be an abundance of fresh seasonal vegetables to eat. And think of all the grassy parks and composting sites!

For further information: 596acres.org

 

Building for vertical garden cities

Some of their structures remind us of bold visions of the future, in which plants reclaim nature for themselves. WOHA realize the permeation of buildings and landscape, of interiors and exteriors in projects such as the Singapore School of the Arts and the seminal residential high-rise “The Met” in Bangkok, which received the International Highrise Award 2010.

WOHA is represented by Richard Hassell and Mun Summ Wong as directors of the architectural office based in Singapore. They made their name in Asia in the late 1990s with open, single-family dwellings suitable for the tropics. Today they mainly design high-rises and large structures: a mega residential park in India, office and hotel towers in Singapore that lend a new, vertical dimension to green landscapes. Air-conditioning is merely an additional feature for these open structures, because the building structure itself provides the cooling. Natural lighting is standard, solar modules harvest energy for use in the buildings; water for domestic purposes and rainwater are reused.

Topics such as creating value added through communal areas and permeability for climate and nature will be presented in WOHA’s first monographic exhibition using examples of open tropical family homes, green high-rises and projects still in the completion phase. The exhibition showcases 19 of WOHA’s most important projects in digital images and models, project texts, large-format photos and plans.

 

WOHA – Breathing Architecture
2 December 2011 – 29 April 2012 at the Deutsches Architekturmuseum (DAM), Frankfurt am Main

Further information:
dam-online.de
woha-architects.com