Urban Lab # 4: Urban Greening/ Verdissement urbain

A number of known and lesser known ecologically diverse landscapes thrive in the city of Montreal, and particularly in its postindustrial urban spaces. A number of these landscapes and their urban flora are also rapidly disappearing in the wake of new residential and private real-state developments. Often these kinds of weedy and overgrown landscapes are perceived as blighted and ruined urban spaces. Our fourth and final workshop sought to make public the potential that informal urban green spaces have to serve as community space for interspecies relations, and invites the public to participate in creative strategies for preserving the social life of these natural-cultural landscapes. – SJ
Participants exploring the rich urban flora growing next to the ruin of the nineteenth-century Crathern and Caverhill Warehouse.  Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014
Participants exploring the rich urban flora growing next to the ruin of the nineteenth-century Crathern and Caverhill Warehouse.
Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014

Despite the rain, approximately twenty-five people came out to participate in our fourth and final urban lab, Verdissement urbain. The event was curated by Noémie Despland-Lichtert in collaboration with guest experts and artists Jessica Hart and Roger Latour. The goal of this workshop was to introduce participants to the ecology of informal green and self-seeding spaces that thrive in Montreal’s post-industrial landscapes.

Participants gathering in parking lot at the corner of Prince and Wellington. Photo: Cynthia Hammond © 2014.
Participants gathering in parking lot at the corner of Prince and Wellington. Photo: Cynthia Hammond © 2014.
Armed with umbrellas, gumboots, scissors and more ziplock bags, our experts led us on a tour through the rich diversity of urban flora that presently grows throughout many of Griffintown’s interstitial spaces. Participants were asked to take clippings throughout their walk. Some participants even discovered arugula growing out of an old stone wall!
Noémie and Roger discovering arugula! Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Noémie and Roger discovering arugula! Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Roger and Noémie! Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Roger and Noémie! Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Jessica Hart on her way to the Wellington tower with her specimens for a future art project. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.

 

Nima with his specimen! Photo: Cynthia Hammond © 2014.
Nima with his edible specimen! Photo: Cynthia Hammond © 2014.

Back at the Darling Foundry, we used the garage as a meeting place to continue the workshop – thank-you Mariko for providing us with a dry and warm place to continue our activities! And thank-you Cynthia and Tom for doing a tea/ coffee/ hot chocolate run! Participants huddled together and  shared their collection of plant clippings. With guidance from Jessica, participants were then invited to reproduce their observations of the plant specimens through botanical illustrations and sketches.

Participants at the Darling Foundry. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Participants at the Darling Foundry.  Jessica Hart arranging the clippings. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
A sampling of plant species under observation. Photo: Cynthia Hammond © 2014.
A sampling of plant species under observation. Photo: Cynthia Hammond © 2014.
And the sketching begins! Photo: Roger Latour © 2014.
And the sketching begins! Photo: Roger Latour © 2014.
Artist sketch. Photo: Cynthia Hammond © 2014.
Artist sketch. Photo: Cynthia Hammond © 2014.
Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Eman Haram sketching. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.

The urban greening workshop wrapped up with Roger and Jessica pressing a variety of plant species collected throughout the walk. These pressings, along with the thirty-eight sketches and illustrations created by our artist-participants, will be on display at the Points de vue exhibition September 24th -28th. – SJ

Roger pressing plant specimens. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Roger pressing plant specimens. Photo: Shauna Janssen © 2014.
Wellington Tunnel, 2014. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©
Wellington Tunnel, 2014. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©

Smith Street Viaduct, Griffintown, Montreal, 2011. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©

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Un certain nombre de paysages écologiquement diversifiés, connus et moins connus, prospère dans la ville de Montréal, et particulièrement dans les espaces urbains postindustriels. Néanmoins, un certain nombre de ces paysages sont également en train de rapidement disparaître dans le sillage de nouveaux développements immobiliers. Ces paysages broussailleux et envahis de mauvaises herbes sont souvent perçus comme des espaces urbains ruinés et sans intérêt. Cet atelier vise à illuminer le potentiel de ces espaces verts, urbains, quoiqu’informels, en tant que lieu communautaire pour les relations entre les différents écosystèmes, autant naturel qu’humain. Nous invitons le public à partager des stratégies créatives pour préserver la vie sociale de ces paysages naturels et culturels. – SJ

Smith Street Viaduct, Griffintown, Montreal, 2011. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©

Smith Street and Wellington Tower, Griffintown, Montreal, 2011. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©
Smith Street and Wellington Tower, Griffintown, Montreal, 2011. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©
Smith Street Promenade with Wellington Tower, Griffintown, Montreal, 2014. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©
Smith Street Promenade, Griffintown, Montreal, 2014. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©
Smith Street Viaduct, Griffintown, Montreal, 2014. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©
Smith Street Viaduct, Griffintown, Montreal, 2014. Photo: Shauna Janssen ©
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