Montreal Guerrilla Gardening: "Tour de Guerrilla" Silent Film

OuVert is an open urban sustainability lab that I'm helping to start  here in Montreal. Below is an occasionally Chaplin-esque video of our first event - a seedbomb workshop and guerrilla gardening ride - that we ran a few weeks ago.

Before the ride, we used facebook to crowd-source targets. Connecting the dots gave us a route (mapped here) that wound it's way through the Mile-End neighbourhood, and then focused on a series of semi-derelict spaces that border a freight rail line.
The whole area is perched precariously between decay and renewal.
Condos are going on one corner; rubble and trash sprawl out across the street. Through it all are the organic patterns that people, animals, and plants have woven into the landscape:

Pedestrians and cyclists have worn desire lines through the vacant lots and across the tracks. Birds nest in the hollows left where bricks have fallen from an old factory wall. Vines engulf old iron fences. An untended by well used space, it was the perfect target for some well placed seedbombs.

Seedbombing is an interesting way to game the urban landscape.  And I'm a big believer in the idea that games can do serious work.

Going out with some seeds in hand is a transformative thing. Almost without meaning to, your eyes start hunting for forgotten spaces where things could grow. And you find them. Many of them.

All your habitual ways of relating to a city street get replaced by one question: "Could something grow here?"  For days after I found myself making mental notes of overlooked areas along my daily walks. A kind of Easter Egg hunt in reverse, it is an unusual way of relating to urban space. But beyond just the fun of it, it gives you an entry point into larger questions about how cities would be different if they were designed to work in synergy with nature and the ecosystems that exist within and around them.


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This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

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