Greening the City (my translation of La Ville Fertile – Fertile City sounds a bit weird in English) at Paris’ Cite de l’architecture is a wonderful exhibition. They’ve really gone to town to show that nature has a place – and a growing recognition – in cities with a beautifully named ‘imaginarium’ of real tropical plants. Among the leaves shine out projects of how cities could be, or how parts of cities are. From the raised city park Washington Grasslands to the fabulous promenade along the Quai de la Garonne in Bordeaux to MAD Architects’ Urban Forest, there is lots to get exited about. I particularly liked the MAK T6 jungle architecture, an extension of the MAK Centre for Art and Architecture in Los Angeles. An imitation the vegetal structure of the forest, it is designed to become gradually overgrown, like a real forest.
The exhibition was heavy of French projects, with a nod to the U.S.. The most innovative and 22nd century-like projects (which speak to the exhibition poster) however, were in Asia. I like the idea of building gardens on rooftops and balconys, or even walls (my pictures of some fertile walls being made on Sugarloaf mountain in Rio).
And I LOVE the growing trend for urban gardens. I used to be a member of a collective one near my appartment in Paris’ 20th district. It was a wonderful way to use a small neglected patch of land. We kept in pretty and opened it to the public for a few hours a week, and in exchange had a wonderfully peaceful place to go think about the world. Not that I ever went there (even I’m ashamed to say, to garden) but it was nice to know I could.