I surveyed this pedestrian lanes stretching from Kupondol to Pulchowk to establish green walls and remove unwanted trees from the grown up trees . The bureaucratic hassles has pushed the project backward . But every obstacle is a path waiting to be discovered. Nothing is wasted. I have invested my time and energy , something will grow from here instead.
The representative of Lalitpur Metropolitan city invited me to join their tree plantations along the sidewalks.I suggested them to plant flowering trees on lonely traffic islands and road dividers to improve the street scape.I provided them photo shopped images drawings and references. I took this opportunity to share the idea of integrating art in public spaces. They said, there is no funding provision for this sorts of things . If the artist can generate funding’s, then we can negotiate.
I told them if we do not have resources for public art programs we can incorporate creative solutions on existing urban frame works such as dustbins, poles, tree guards, walls, bridges and urban amenities making the world of ordinary things more appealing and meaningful . This will create a shift in our behavioural towards public properties.
The 1st phase of the tree plantation was done without the participation of community. So they faced difficulties in fostering the connection between public and the city agencies. New partnership models have to be applied in these processes so that our work is both people- and place-cantered. Usually Banks / business houses fund these kinds of projects mainly to use prominent locations for their advertisements. They are more interested in commercial profits . If they fail to provide future care and maintenance of these spaces, their advertisements should be removed immediately as a penalty. This kind of public place –making contract has to be made beforehand.
It is necessary to take into account the social dynamics and cultural specificities of the area. We can invite local institutes like schools, organizations etc to take this initiation. The idea of local people taking on responsibility for their own parks and maintenance could instil a sense of pride and attachment in the people who live and work in the surrounding area.
While the city authorities started planting trees at various commercial points stretching from kupondol to Pulchowk. Most of the shopkeepers said, that the trees will grow and overshadow their billboards. They worried about their business being blocked but greeneries are directly related to the promotion of the local economy. Greeneries can lower the stress level . Perhaps, we must bring change; on our current mind-set.
Beside taking part in tree plantations – I am going to hold dozens of convenient, accessible meetings with shopkeeper’s and actively listen to them. Through these observations, I hope to find what kinds of methods are missing and what can be improved. To make an under-performing space into a lively place, we cannot expect to do everything right initially. It takes vision, commitment and patience to create social change
Finally, the pavement improvement has begun. The removal of old trees guards will eventually give the grown up trees more freedom and the pedestrians more space.