The WGOTGW process allowed us to explore, test and learn about the developing connection between people, place and nature within the revitalised urban landscape. By discussing the new and existing plants we wanted to help create a connection between people and the nature they encounter every day. We wanted to highlight that plants can be of interest to everyone and we wanted to encourage people to explore further and stay longer on the Greenway all year round.
Following their work on the design and delivery of the Connswater Community Greenway (CCG) Anthony McGuigan CMLI and Darren McKinstry MLI from The Paul Hogarth Company (TPHC) agreed to write a blog about the new landscape. On the agreement that this would be a conversation written for local people and not a horticultural lecture the following process ensued:
- Plants were suggested (by either Anthony and Darren or by the community)
- CCG and TPHC put a ‘Photo Call’ out over their social media platforms.
- The community sent in photographs of the plants.
- Anthony and Darren wrote the blog encouraging feedback and future plant suggestions.
- CCG posted the Blog on their website utilising the community’s photographs. The blog was shared on CCG and TPHC social media platforms prompting discussion and engagement.
Due to the interest in the blog photography exhibitions, tours and plant explorations were held during the year where Anthony and Darren introduced the local photographers and delivered talks on the plants photographed.
To capture and celebrate the emerging connection with the new landscape the blog and the process were developed into a book to provide a physical resource for locals and visitors exploring the greenway landscape. Anthony and Darren wrote the book and graphics were designed with CCG utilising the community photography.
What’s Growing on the Greenway is relevant to the client and community because it is written specifically for this place. i.e. for local people and about their plants. Plant facts and trivia were researched with the predominantly working class, East Belfast audience in mind.
Plants were used to make connections to existing local interests such as sport, local heritage and the world wars. Human emotions such as love, fear and childhood memories were utilised in describing plants as well as more aspirational information such as international connections, environmental relevance and suggested further reading.
This approach manifested itself in a fun but educational ‘did you know?’ and image-based approach written at an 11-year-old reading age so that it would be accessible to as many people as possible.
This project is unique in that it represents a detailed conversation over a 2-year period between client, landscape professionals and a community. It utilises the communication channels that the community use including social media and face to face engagement at events. The book is being sold online and in local shops and is in local libraries and schools, providing a legacy and continuing the conversation.
What's Growing On The Greenway
Connswater, East Belfast, Northern Ireland
Research, documentation and publication
The Paul Hogarth Company Limited
Connswater Community Greenway
The original idea from the client was to write a blog celebrating the new landscape along the Connswater Community Greenway. Following discussion this brief was broadened to become conversation with the community encouraging feedback and learnings rather than just a professional view on the landscape. The developed aims were: - Explore, test and learn about the developing connection between people, place and nature along the revitalised urban landscape. - Create a connection between people and the nature they encounter every day. - Highlight that plants are not just of interest to gardeners or horticulturalists. - Encourage people to explore further and stay longer on the Greenway all year round.
Client: Connswater Community Greenway Landscape Architect: The Paul Hogarth Company Authors: Anthony McGuigan & Darren McKinstry Graphic Designer: Image Zoo