On December 4th, the Despacio team, along with our colleagues from ROL Bogota and City Parking, installed a vertical garden in the parking lot behind our office building. The idea for this project came from this picture of a garden made from recycled bottles in Sao Paulo. We considered different designs and materials to build a simple, homemade garden, including bottles, pallets, and reused banners. The project’s goal was to transform a space of car smoke and asphalt into something nicer, through a participatory activity with others in our building.
the wall before and after the activity
We consulted with experts and ultimately opted for a design using geotextile pockets (a synthetic permeable cloth). The workshop began with a theoretical component in which we discussed fertilizers, pest control, and how to maintain a garden in a polluted space like a parking lot. Each participant chose a plant (among begonia, glory bush, duranta, and vinca) to plant in a pocket. They then designed a tag with their name as well as that of the plant, the idea being that each person adopt a plant. Now that the garden is installed, it requires some maintenance and a strict watering regimen, which everyone will help out in.
Vertical gardens and green roofs have a number of environmental, economic and social benefits. They enhance the urban landscape, capture carbon, absorb noise, retain water and offset the Urban Heat Island effect. According to the Secretariat of Environment, Bogota currently has 32,000 m2 of green roofs and 1,100 m2 of vertical gardens. A small garden like this one does not have a huge impact but it demonstrates what a small organization, without a lot of staff or money, can do to improve their work environment. We hope it can serve as a model and to expand the project in 2015, perhaps with recycled materials like we had originally planned.
We thank everyone who participated in the activity, CityParking for their collaboration, Natalia Giraldo Agudelo from the Secretariat of Environment for her initial advice, and to Fernando Osorio for teaching us and helping us carry out this project. If you have any questions about the process, please contact us.
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