Ecotopia: Tyler Michieli "Drop Garden" 2017-08-04T16:24:42+00:00

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Design details:

Guerrilla gardening is more than just the illicit cultivation of someone else’s land. It is about taking back underused land and creating growth out of stagnation. It is a story we tell our children, using the legend of Johnny Appleseed, to teach about conservation and cultivation. It is a way to define social injustice of land use as seen by the banana farmers of Honduras. Or, spark revolution for social change like great guerrilla leaders Che and Mao. This simple act of planting has greater social implications as well; it shows how ingrained and important cultivation, stewardship, and food are to all societies. The current guerrilla gardening movement is quickly gaining ground all around the world; as people start to care for the neglected and ignored spaces in their communities, especially in urban areas.

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To me this process of illicit cultivation is a very romantic idea, and as with every ght there are struggles before there are triumphs. My project ‘DROP GARDEN _ modular gardening system’ is not about simple urban gardening it is a critique of current guerrilla gardening practices, a tool for guerrilla gardens, and signage for a movement. The concept for this project stems from various critiques of guerrilla gardening starting with its name. Guerrilla tactics are about ambush and mobility. Current practice of gardening takes over a place permanently; there is no way to move what has been sown without great effort. In contrast I wanted to develop a way to create these gardens as a social space, but allow them to be ephemeral, like the plants that grow in them. Since the location of these ecosystems does not create a place, the act of movement and placement does, and this would augment the concept of impermanence.

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The modularity of the Drop Garden comes from the idea of providing a tool for guerrilla gardeners. The work of human hands is important, especially to gardeners, thus the movement of the module should also be done by these hands. I determined that the milk crate was an accessible, durable, found object that would become the basic module for this project. It is scaled for a person to carry, it is easily stacked and inherently structural, and the utilitarian nature of the crate ts the ethos of the guerrilla gardener. The rest of the design also incorporates easily obtained or found materials, with a bit of DIY spirit integrated in. The system created is relatively simple, focusing on the basic elements that plants need to live: Water, Light, Space, and Soil.