Recent studies confirm that increasing tree canopy coverage within cities has the potential to reduce the peak temperatures of summer heat waves. On a case-by-case basis, this may seem like a minuscule endeavour; climate change, however, is as much of a social issue as it is scientific, one that must be addressed through community participation and collective action.
This replicable installation designed for the 2023 Landscape Festival in Bergamo—first exhibited as a prototype at Milan’s Fuorisalone—is therefore a physical and figurative framework for joint social efforts to demonstrate that, with incremental afforestation, there is potential for citizens to improve their shared urban climate. It builds upon the festival’s motto “Grow Together” by inviting participants to also “Grow Green.” With an intention to underscore this potential, the installation’s framework is elaborated on three levels: de-construction, activation, and growing green.
“Grow Together Grow Green“ is built as a modular structure of scaffolding and is covered with seedlings of species that are typical to the region. The use of scaffolding – a lightweight and reusable system – constitutes a strategy for the installation’s primary structure which is not only easy to assemble and disassemble, but which also has an almost indefinite life cycle that can be repurposed in different locations. Similarly temporal, the seedlings will initially green the location but will gradually dissipate as visitors register to take with them for planting across the city. Registration establishes a sense of responsibility, as registrants are called upon to take care of the seedlings and to document the process via the event Instagram and website: from collection at the event to the final planting in one’s own garden or at the Parco Nord Milan in collaboration with the parallel project “Forestami”.
The invitation to take the seedlings home and the intervention’s replicability generate an enduring performance rather than just a temporary installation. As a vivid artistic space and at the same time a social tool, the project rethinks the way we relate to each other and influence our environment, emphasising the potential of a communal process dependent on one’s individual actions: the possibility to grow together and to grow green. The outcome is an expansive intervention that can only be considered complete through broad and mindful social participation.