Added: 11 months ago
URBAN TREE PROJECT is a collaborative and participatory process with artists Deirdre A Power & Jacki Hehir, the residents of Castletroy View & N.G.O. The Woodland League, which has evolved into a state of pro-active involvement inspired by the resident children of Castletroy View. The project endeavours to advocate an educational and participatory programme that investigates the value of native trees within an urban context. A form of success in this work is to seek collective actualisation while existing in the aftermath of controversial planning decisions and the destructive power of the downturn in the economy.
(a) Project Roots / A Sense of Place
According to Lefebvre, the struggle over space is always related to the social relationships that are generated within the logic of place, wherein space revolves around people occupying, owning, seizing, developing, and re-claiming place. Due to the collapse in the property market, the residents of Castletroy View have lived for over 5 years with the daily site of a rusting failed shell, the Parkway Valley Shopping Centre and a ‘”No Man’s Land” strip of disused equipment and debris. Their intention is to reclaim their space by not only challenging the view of the failed development that currently overlooks their green, but also by re-imagining their place as it should be.
We would love to see our green area restored to some natural beauty by the addition of mature native trees to shield us from the industrial eyesore beyond our border.
- Resident, Castletroy View.
Our pedagogical rational is to develop a continued sustained discourse to the ideas and aspirations that form the very basis of community life. It is hoped this work will be a positive step in promoting change at local level and re-imagining the future for places such as Castletroy View and for the restoration of our own future and beyond.
For those living in what Prof. Rob Kitchin, NUI, Maynooth has termed ‘haunted landscapes’; the challenge is to move from passive observers to actors seeking an active role in redirecting the narrative by providing a sustainable place to live. As in many human conditions each party in these situations live their dream, act out their own image of reality. The artist becomes one of these parties in their own right; their bias and their creativity as well as their research inform their sense of agency.
(b) Project Future Cities / Setting the Seeds of Restoration
The methodology applied has already established the history of our native trees through workshops facilitated by N.G.O. The Woodland League, which are provided for and with the participation of the children and residents of Castletroy View. Our first workshop became the foundation stone where the community were introduced to native tree species within their locality whilst also highlighting awareness to the Groody Valley Protected Wedge that borders their estate, and beyond the development. This action was followed by an open workshop a week later on the green in Castletroy View, again facilitated by The Woodland League, where the community and their children planted ten native tree saplings.
Later in the summer we will be building a Dunemann Seedbed with the help of the residents committee of Castletroy View. The Dunemann Seedbed, which acts as a tree nursery by using only natural substances such as leaf mulch to emulate the forests bed, which consequently propagates the young tree saplings from seed. It allows the saplings to strengthen and after 12 months they are transplanted out of the bed and nursed for at least another year to help develop their root systems before being planted in their final destination. The seedbed can furthermore be reused thereafter, each year. The seed’s that will be planted within the Duneman Seedbed system shall be sown from an Arboretum 20km south of Limerick City in Broadford, Co. Limerick. This specific Arboretum houses sample of every one of Irelands native trees, ensuring that the seeds collected will be certifiably native. We will all be working together on the collection of the native seeds for sowing in the Dunemann Seedbed, back on the green in Castletroy View, in Limerick City and for the foreseeable future on the planning and landscaping of their inner city green.
This is an Agenda 21 (the blueprint for sustainable development in the 21st century, that was attached to the Rio Declaration on the environment in 1992, signed up to by 176 nations including Ireland) project involving a bottom up approach of engagement with a local community and consultation with a wide range of stakeholders to achieve a more sustainable development. A space that will collectively be invested in, not for the short- term economic gains but for the long- term societal and environmental rewards.