Lakshmi Mane, a domestic help from Santacruz, has already begun dreaming about growing vegetables and spending evenings in a garden, right in the middle of the crowded Shastri Nagar area. The 42-year-old was part of a public workshop on Friday where architects and architecture students brainstormed over a design plan for a garden. The garden is likely to come up on a disused vacant plot.
“My design input was to have mats made of dried coconut leaves instead of benches, so we can all squat on the ground together,” said Mane.
The architects sat with some of the residents and tried to understand what kind of garden they wanted in the small space. “They want to grow vegetables, colourful and fragrant flowers in their garden. So, we planned to create a space where they can spend time with their children as well as their partners,” said Adrienne Thadani, founder of a Fresh & Local, which promotes urban farming.
The workshop, held at Priyadarshini Park, was part of the ongoing BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai. This project, which was launched in the Guggenheim Museum in New York City last year, is a mobile laboratory that travels across the world, to inspire innovative ideas for urban life. The non-profit Fresh &Local and a women’s healthcare NGO Sneha had co-organised the workshop. “The upper classes take privacy for granted. Friday’s workshop is an effort to help people reclaim and re-appropriate public spaces,” said Pooja Warier, one of the curators of BMW Guggenheim Lab Mumbai.
All the ideas discussed at Friday’s workshop will be consolidated into one plan and Fresh & Local will begin raising funds to build the garden early next year.