DOT in Tippasandra, a neighbourhood play camp (Aug-Sep 09)

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What is Demonstrating Outdoor Tactics (DOT)?

The DOT (Demonstrating Outdoor Tactics) is a configuration for a mobile cultural space for Bangalore. It will be used for a diverse set of curated artistic and cultural projects proposed by the community of creative-practitioners and amateurs in Bangalore.


Station 1: A construction site in a residential neighbourhood

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The first station in the journey of DOT in Bangalore in in Tippasandra.


What is happening now?

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Key concepts, ideas and explorations: idea of play (spontaneous, planned), interactive and performative activities (set within neighbourhood contexts), expressions of space making/transforming (camp site, new spaces in house/yards/unused), expression through writings (fiction/knowledge generation/cultural diary), about the neighbourhood ecosystem (exploring representation, drawings, photographing, recording etc.), living systems (garbage/toilet related), nature of open spaces.


Notes about the context

Unemployed plots of land dream of things that they can do, how they can look, forms they can take. When they are actively traded and utilized in the market and society, only a narrow range of functions get performed on them. They, on the other hand remain unfilled. The markets binds the land in the roles it wants it to play.This construction site in Thippasandra’s residential neighbourhood belongs to the University Women’s Association, Bangalore (UWAB). The site is temporarily unemployed as the project requires a further infusion of money. UWA is currently working at raising funds to soon be able to resume construction again. In its current state of being temporarily unoccupied, it is dreaming of the roles it can play in the neighbourhood.

The DOT’s being at this site across August and September 09, will be a kind of nomadic urban camping ground, a space which offers refuge, platform, visibility and possibility to a range of conversations initiated by artists, activists, architects, researchers and others. In a way, it is channeling the dreams which the space might have dreamed of and giving form and language to them in different ways.


Curatorial Theme: Children And The City

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“Children and the city” is the broad theme of the proposals selected for happening in the DOT in 2009. The theme emerged out of conversations about children and their perceptions of the city. As a part of this theme we hope to demonstrate some processes in which children can be more than mute, passive spectators and actually have an active dialog with the city. In a way, the concept of child rights is being re-looked and the ideals they have embedded in forms which find an expression in our everyday lives.

Adult citizens are able to organize themselves in lobbies to shape the city in the direction of their convenience. Children are mostly not represented in this process. How can their needs and imaginations find articulation in urban forms and designs? How deeply can they shape their own modes and mechanisms of representation with adults only as friends and facilitators and not necessarily the intermediaries?

Play, self-learning, communication, exchange and ways to facilitate their own desires are going to be the key concepts shared amongst most of the projects as a part of the DOT (demonstrating outdoor tactics) in August.

The DOT process is trying to explore how negotiation and mutuality as values can open up spaces to cultural practices which maybe do not just address their niche and limited audiences but converse more actively with the neighbourhood they are situated in.

 

Porous City in Tippasandra, a neighbourhood play camp (Aug 20-Sep 20 09)

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What is Porous City?

POROUS CITY sees the city of flows obstructions also as a city of accidents, shadows, parallel realities, diversity, fiction and imagination.

Across this year POROUS CITY is practicing different ways of experiencing, sharing and articulating these realities. These ways will be of writing, performances, walks and interventions.

There is a lot of theory about space and the identified spaces we give names and call places. Spaces are the locative anchors for memory and history, which goes to say that most of our memories of our cities as they were consists of spatial snapshots of places. Space is a multi-dimensional entity – where invisible things lurk and memory is just one of those invisible things. Restaurants, gardens, neighbourhoods. The city of flows finds it very difficult to change with the “anchors of memories” weighing it down. Performative dreaming about what our cities and neighbourhoods can be is what POROUS CITY is about.

A “cultural space” is any space which is temporarily open to expressions and performances of different kinds. A space which doesn’t place barriers in the meeting of people with people – across hierarchies and boundaries. And, I think to be inspired people go where there is a possibility for a rich inter-mingling of people. And sometimes there is a vacuum – there are few spaces which play this role.

In POROUS CITY, I am trying to map the kinds of alternative and temporary spaces available in this city for cultural action of all kinds.


Station 1: A construction site in a residential neighbourhood

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The first POROUS CITY is in Tippasandra.


What is happening now?

home4

Key concepts, ideas and explorations: idea of play (spontaneous, planned), interactive and performative activities (set within neighbourhood contexts), expressions of space making/transforming (camp site, new spaces in house/yards/unused), expression through writings (fiction/knowledge generation/cultural diary), about the neighbourhood ecosystem (exploring representation, drawings, photographing, recording etc.), living systems (garbage/toilet related), nature of open spaces.


Notes about the context

Unemployed plots of land dream of things that they can do, how they can look, forms they can take. When they are actively traded and utilized in the market and society, only a narrow range of functions get performed on them. They, on the other hand remain unfilled. The markets binds the land in the roles it wants it to play.This construction site in Thippasandra’s residential neighbourhood belongs to the University Women’s Association, Bangalore (UWAB). The site is temporarily unemployed as the project requires a further infusion of money. UWA is currently working at raising funds to soon be able to resume construction again. In its current state of being temporarily unoccupied, it is dreaming of the roles it can play in the neighbourhood.

The POROUS CITY site’s being at this site across August and September 09, will be a kind of nomadic urban camping ground, a space which offers refuge, platform, visibility and possibility to a range of conversations initiated by artists, activists, architects, researchers and others. In a way, it is channeling the dreams which the space might have dreamed of and giving form and language to them in different ways.


Curatorial Theme: Children And The City

child2

“Children and the city” is the broad theme of the proposals selected for happening at POROUS CITY in 2009. The theme emerged out of conversations about children and their perceptions of the city. As a part of this theme we hope to demonstrate some processes in which children can be more than mute, passive spectators and actually have an active dialog with the city. In a way, the concept of child rights is being re-looked and the ideals they have embedded in forms which find an expression in our everyday lives.

Adult citizens are able to organize themselves in lobbies to shape the city in the direction of their convenience. Children are mostly not represented in this process. How can their needs and imaginations find articulation in urban forms and designs? How deeply can they shape their own modes and mechanisms of representation with adults only as friends and facilitators and not necessarily the intermediaries?

Play, self-learning, communication, exchange and ways to facilitate their own desires are going to be the key concepts shared amongst most of the projects as a part of POROUS CITY in August.

The POROUS CITY process is trying to explore how negotiation and mutuality as values can open up spaces to cultural practices which maybe do not just address their niche and limited audiences but converse more actively with the neighbourhood they are situated in.

CHECK THIS PAGE FOR MORE DETAILS FOR PROJECTS HAPPENING ACROSS AUGUST-SEPTEMBER 09 in THIPPASANDRA.

Spirited Caravans: re-imagining Bangalore’s outdoors @ Protospace from 12-20 July 09

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Dates

From 2:30 to 7:30 p.m., 12th to 20th July, 2009

As unknown, invisible people, is it possible for us to imagine the city in a way, which is less alienating and fragmented? The exhibition looks at the role mobile spaces can play in doing this.

A showcase of design proposals for a mobile cultural space sent by artists and architects form around the world in response to an invitation extended by CitySpinning in January 2009. This process was initiated to understand some ways of using the existing infrastructure in the city in parasitic and symbiotic ways for a decentralized cultural program which is in the midst of where people live, work and play. As part of this process a mobile cultural space called the DOT is being designed.

Spirited Caravans is curated by Prayas Abhinav at CitySpinning [http://cityspinning.org] and designed by Meeta Jain from MapBee [http://mapbee.tumblr.com]. Quintessence Creations Pvt. Ltd.

A preview of the exhibition will be on view for the think-tank participants. The public opening of the exhibition is on the 12th of July at 4:00 p.m.

Concept

Does the city move or do you move around in the city? Maybe, its both. Our cities have become spaces which exude an impersonal, dry and functional energy. To feel at home here, we try to own a patch here and there to hide away, to console ourselves.

This glass, concrete and trash city in the process of becoming, has amassed an infrastructure, a grid which thinks its going to be there forever. Building possibilities which parasitically draws on this to create pockets of parallel realities, has been an interest shared by many people and groups throughout history (gypsies, street performers, circuses, melas). This exhibition proposes some ways of creating these parallel realities. These ways acknowledge the histories of this process but still position them in the world as it as now, with us being the way we are.invite221

The exhibition has fantasies, fictions and journalistic accounts of seeing the city grow out of its indifference and comfortably wear her neighbourhoods as if they were something specific, the people living there having real names, motivations, dreams and aspirations which can be mapped. Spirited Caravans sees the city in a mood which is celebratory, uninhibited, musical and new (but old at the same time).

It is a good chance for cynics of all descriptions to forever lose their cynicism within clouds of possibility. It will give all of us ideas and energy to act upon them as well as maybe unshackle our imaginations from the city map, which reduces everything to a line and dot to actually be one of the dots and change the map forever in our memory.

Visitors to the exhibition will be able to comment on aspects of the proposals, annotate in the margin, doodle on the side to guide and contribute to our design process.

Spirited Caravans features design proposals by:

  • Amrita Ravimohan & Ekta Idnany [Mumbai, India],
  • Azeer Attari & Dominic Anthony [Mumbai, India],
  • Benoît Maubrey [Brück, Germany],
  • Elina Moreau Braunstein [Sydney,Australia],
  • Harry Westbrook & Nash Colundular [London, UK],
  • Heron-Mazy Studio (J.P. Maruszczak & Roger Connah  Asst: Ryan Manning) [USA],
  • Jelena Grujic and Lea Skrinjar [Novi Sad & Belgrade, Serbia],
  • Jimini Hignett [Amsterdam, The Netherlands],
  • Joao Caria Lopes [Lisbon, Portugal],
  • Joseph Choma [New York, USA],
  • Miguel Valério [Amsterdam, The Netherlands],
  • Nick Tobier (EverydayPlaces) [Detroit & Ann Arbor, USA],
  • Petar Bojovic & Slobodan Krsmanovic [Belgrade, Serbia],
  • Shyamanta Shekhar, Harshavardhan, Srinivas, Sujay Kuncham, Vishnuvardhan [India],
  • Stewart Hicks & Allison Newmeyer [Illinois, USA]

Where?

Protospace Bangalore
No. 6 MR Garden, 2nd cross KEB Layout,
Sanjay Nagar,
Bangalore 560094
Karnataka
India

Map:

protomapnew1

Thanks:
Priyanka Kodikal (design of the invites, poster and graphics)
Malvika Tegta (PR and letting people know)
(more names to be added)

LAND Is available. How do you want to use it?

land-is-available2LAND DREAMS, cataloguing our cultural aspirations and use-values related to LAND

Living in a country and region with active land-struggles and a history of land-rights movements^ and attempts of land-reform, if land is made available to us for some time, what can we imagine?

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

LAND is available for temporary projects, workshops, conferences, performances, make-shift offices in Bangalore for five days a month. This LAND is available only until August 2009. As an artist, group, community, network or individual if there is a need for flexible temporary space in the city, send your proposal to LAND DREAMS. Your proposal should:

  • Introduce yourself or your group.
  • Send a note on how some existing space in Bangalore can be re-used, re-purposed for social and cultural purposes.
  • Explain (in max 300 words) the temporary land-use you have in mind. If possible, sketch something on the photographs below.
  • Please keep these constraints in mind.
    • No permanent changes or structures are possible.
    • The space has to be kept clean.
    • There is no power at the site, everything has to be battery-powered if at all.
    • Collaboration with architects known to us to temporarily shape the space is possible. So, say so if you want to explore this.
    • Night-time projects can’t be noisy.
    • Non-commercial projects of any kind can be proposed.

WHAT?

  • Imaginations often need physical space to play out and virtual spaces are just not enough. Spaces used now to meet and talk are expensive coffee shops or restaurants. OUTDOOR SPACES STILL EXIST.
  • Using land which is not fully built-up yet is a treat. You will get as much flexibility as you want. Think of what the buildings you sit in and use DON’T allow you to use.
  • This call comes as a part of the LAND DREAMS project. “Unemployed plots of land dream of things that they can do, how they can look, forms they can  take. When they are actively traded and utilized in the market and society, only a narrow range of functions get performed on them. They, on the other hand remain unfilled.” Read more at here.
  • LAND DREAMS wants to demonstrate alternative and non-commercial uses for surplus and fringe urban spaces in the city. These demonstrations will become urban memories which will be drawn on for a long time to inspire a diverse set of cultural, social and personal uses of the city.

The LAND belongs is the University Women’s Association of Bangalore (UWAB)’s property in New Thippasandra where they are building a hostel for working women. the construction process is temporarily halted due to paucity of funds. The UWAB has offered CitySpinning use of the property till such time that construction commences. UWAB believes in encouraging young talent and hopes to see youth putting there hostel space to good use.

DEADLINE

For using the LAND in July or August please send in your proposals by June 15th July 1st, 2009. Proposals can be e-mailed to land@cityspinning.org.

PROCESS

  • Proposals which meet the criteria will be accepted. — By July 12th 2009.
  • The teams/individuals behind the selected proposals will be invited to the LAND for a visit, orientation and discussion. — July 14th and 15th, 2009.
  • After this the project will be given confirmed dates on which they can use the LAND for their project. — July 16th, 2009.

note: all the dates have been changed after the deadline extension — June 15th, 2009

EXAMPLES:

  • Your band doesn’t have a space to practice? The LAND, in the afternoon might be the right place.
  • Likewise, this could the ideal space for theatre and film rehearsals, practice and enactment.
  • Want to set up some writers studios for the literati of Bangalore? Our architect friends could help you make cheap temporary studio-spaces.
  • Want to organize puppet-shows, screen movies, do a neighbourhood meeting about dealing with trash and waste? It can all happen here.
  • CitySpinning is using the space for a community-in-the-making, The YourTime Club.
  • For interpretive land-use projects around the world see the list of links here: http://is.gd/A4my.

WHERE?

The University Women’s Association, Bangalore (UWAB) property in New Thippasandra. The UWAB’s land is a site for a working women’s hostel. Link to the google map: http://is.gd/rl5p. Some photographs are here:

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A CitySpinning, OpenSpace Bangalore and University Women’s Association (UWA) project.

The proposals will be selected by CitySpinning and University Women’s Association (UWA) together.

– – –

^ see http://is.gd/A4dV and http://is.gd/A496.

YourTime Club, the first meeting and further

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The first meeting of the YourTime Club happened on Saturday, 11th April. We had Indu, Sunil, Harsh, Sony, Nisha, Ajay, Ritwick, Tarun and Saritha at the meeting.

Minutes of some the discussions which happened in the meeting:

  • introduction of the concept, the motivations, the members and the possibilities
  • understanding the situation
    • being laid-off and others being over-employed as as a result
    • the pressures
    • the support-groups
    • some stories by the members [the stories will appear at this blog in different forms soon]
  • ideas for activities
    • work with the land – grow food there, involve the children in the neighbourhood, build a trash-compost-good-children-water eco-system
    • start an after-school for the children in the neighbourhood
    • start a library with books contributed by the members
    • use cow-dung to flatten the floor of the incomplete building and develop a skating-rink there!
    • skill-based workshops (photography, urban farming, temporary structures)
    • bringing projects to the group and involve the members in the research and brainstorming (Harsh and Sonny later accompanied Saritha on a research trip around the temples near the Halsur Lake)
  • ideas for next time
    • walking in the neighbourhood
    • discussing the details for some of the ideas and starting to do things
    • Prayas (I) will introduce some processes and methods for the club members to work together

We have a google group for discussions and a SMS group now to receive updates and news,

Some photographs of the meeting are below. I also did a few audio recordings, I’ll be able to edit and add the audio clips later this week.

The meeting happened inside (was it really inside?) a temporary structure created by Nisha Nair from Mumbai. More details and photographs of Nisha’s work at CitySpinning in the next post.

Introducing the YourTime Club (a club for people who finally own their time again)

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== INVITATION:== If you have recently lost (or not found) a job, you are invited to the introductory meeting of the YourTime Club. If you don’t own your own time yet please forward this link along to those who do!

== DATE:== Saturday, 11th April, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

== LOCATION:== UWA hostel plot, New Thippasandra, Link to the google map: http://is.gd/rl5p or call me if you need directions (that’s my mobile number up there)

== ABOUT:== The financial-crisis has entered the family. Someone we know directly or indirectly has lost his/her job. This is great news. With full-time employment we haven’t had time to do many things which were once close to our heart. Did you once like to just sit around and stare at the sky, the clouds merging into each other, making strange shapes? Or maybe try and read patterns into the flow of traffic on the street outside your house, browse the library shelves for hours? Clean the garden, cook experimental dishes, drive out to the highway only to look at the stars…

We are introducing the YourTime Club, for people in Bangalore who are experiencing a new found freedom with their time, either because you have recently lost your job or because you can’t find one. So, what are you doing with this time?

The YourTime Club will meet twice a month at the University Women’s Association, Bangalore  (UWAB) property  in New Thippasandra – the UWAB’s site for a working women’s hostel (see LOCATION). The site is temporarily unemployed as the project requires a further infusion of vitamin M. UWA is currently working at raising funds to soon be able to employ the site full-time.

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At each meeting of the The YourTime Club, we will perform activities which the club-members feel are educational, fun, adventurous, social, service-oriented or explorative**. The first meeting of this club will be on the 11th of April 2009. At this meeting the concept of the club and the initial few ideas for activities will be discussed. Those who find some of those ideas interesting can enroll in the club. Enrollment is free.

– – – –

* UWA – University Women’s Association (http://www.ifuw.org/ifuwa-bangalore/)

** Yoga workshops, gardening and urban farming, writing poetry, flying kites, teaching children, repairing bicycles, learning to cook etc.

+ This project is supported by OpenSpace Bangalore

Land dreams

LandDreams [land-dreams] noun, verb

– noun: Realized or unrealized aspirations of land.

– verb: The act of imagining urealized desires; in terms of functional uses or aesthetic.

Unemployed plots of land dream of things that they can do, how they can look, forms they can  take. When they are actively traded and utilized in the market and society, only a narrow range of functions get performed on them. They, on the other hand remain unfilled.

Because, how they see themselves as is a a lot more colourful, open, social and adventureous. The markets binds the land in the roles it wants it to play.

The market has crashed. A lot of land is now unemployed. The market doesn’t have the resources to employ it or speculate on it. For now, some land owns its own future. And so, it is dreaming. It is dreaming of what it can be. In many different ways. I am channeling these dreams and giving them a temporary life. This story is called LandDreams, a verb and a noun. LandDreams is a part of the Porous City effort.

The first plot of land whose dreams I am channeling is the University Women’s Association, Bangalore  (UWAB) property  in New Thippasandra – the UWAB’s site for a working women’s hostel (see a map here). This is what the land looks like right now:

Nisha Nair and I am working on a temporary cloth and rope structure at the site for the first meeting of the YourTime Club.

You will see more of the dreams here as they take shape.

Outcome of the call for proposals for designs of mobile cultural spaces

The Porous City call for proposals for designs of mobile cultural spaces received twenty-five submissions from eight countries.

From January 26-March 20th, the competition website had some 3,000 visitors from around the world. Numerous people sent asked questions and posted the call for proposals on their website.

Submissions from around the world
Visitors from around the world

Fifteen of the twenty-five proposals have been short-listed and will be published in a book in the next few weeks. The book will be released on the web-site and as a print-on-demand publication.

The short-listed teams will receive e-mails from CitySpinning soon (update, april 8th 09: this is in progress now, some of you might have already received e-mails).

Each short-listed team will be requested to license their submission under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.5 India License [link]. After that some images from the submitted proposals, commentary and more details will be posted here.

The short-listed teams are:

  • Amrita Ravimohan & Ekta Idnany [Mumbai, India]
  • Azeer Attari & Dominic Anthony [Mumbai, India]
  • Benoît Maubrey [Brück, Germany]
  • Elina Moreau Braunstein [Sydney,Australia]
  • Harry Westbrook & Nash Colundular [London, UK]
  • Heron-Mazy Studio (J.P. Maruszczak & Roger Connah  Asst: Ryan Manning) [USA]
  • Jelena Grujic and Lea Skrinjar [Novi Sad & Belgrade, Serbia]
  • Jimini Hignett [Amsterdam, The Netherlands]
  • Joao Caria Lopes [Lisbon, Portugal]
  • Joseph Choma [New York, USA]
  • Miguel Valério [Amsterdam, The Netherlands]
  • Nick Tobier (EverydayPlaces) [Detroit & Ann Arbor, USA]
  • Petar Bojovic & Slobodan Krsmanovic [Belgrade, Serbia]
  • Shyamanta Shekhar, Harshavardhan, Srinivas, Sujay Kuncham, Vishnuvardhan [India]
  • Stewart Hicks & Allison Newmeyer [Illinois, USA]

The steps after the short-list, the prize and the post-competition plan (towards getting the DOT on the street in Bengaluru / Bangalore) will also will be posted later next week.

For those who are interested, here are more statistics about the traffic at the competition website:

Visitors from Indian cities
Visitors from Indian cities

Inspite of all the traffic from within India I got only five proposals originating from India. So, either people got to know too late, were busy, lazy or un-motiviated. How do I motivate you, all my fellow citizens of India? This is happening in Bangalore, more local participation would have been great! Besides the web-site, posters were also put by friends and volunteers at numerous architecture and design school in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

A more general view of the Google Analytics dashboard of the competition web-site:

Dashboard view
Dashboard view

More updates soon. Thank you everyone for participating and your enthusiasm! CitySpinning will be announcing more competitions later this year.

Navigating the trash-route of Bangalore and some hints to how it all works

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Being a part of the generation which rarely votes, is more or less politically apathetic and is mobile to the point of being rootless, it was a refreshing experience today to meet some bureaucrats who are making it happen in Bangalore and with gusto.

At 8:15 a.m. we set out to meet Nandesh and Shivakumar, two engineers in the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), the municipal corporation of Bangalore. Shivakumar is in charge of Yelahanka and Nandesh of another area along the nation highway number seven. Zack, Dharmang and me were accompanying Poonam. She had given a presentation at the Residents Welfare Association (RWA) of Yelahanka New Town and the engineers had invited her over to the BBMP zonal office to talk further. Poonam Bir Kasturi is the founder of DailyDump is working at organizing the solid waste management of the city, so that the bio-degradable waste is identified, separated and composted. She offers numerous (and very sound) arguments about why this is a good idea. The discussion with the Nandesh and Shivakumar was about how BBMP actually works, what is the organizational model and how she could engage with it to make the practices outlined by DailyDump an integral part of the municipal plan and program.

Nandesh very patiently drew the organizational chart of BBMP and described the broad roles and responsibilities of each level of officer. All of us had lots of questions. Are there any rules against singing on the street? Who controls the use of public spaces? Who is responsible for the plants grown in the traffic islands, circles, between the roads etc.? There exists an Horticulture department, it is in charge of the tree felling, tree planting, nurturing parks etc. across the city. Later, back in the lab, I downloaded the organizational chart of the department, and phone numbers and email addresses of each officer from the website of BBMP.

After the discussion we left in the corporation jeep to look at the existing composting facilities setup by the municipality. Nandesh explained the way waste-collection and dumping works and what roles the contractors and self-help-groups play in the effort.

Then we had lunch at this highway restaurant. Post-lunch Poonam and Nandesh went on to look at the main land-fill site where all the waste (around 30 truck-loads per zone per day) lands up and we took a rickshaw back to CEMA. With the sense of humour (+sarcasm) of Poonam, the zest of Zack and the enthusiasm of the engineers, the trip was really enjoyable. I hope to hangout more with Poonam this semester.

The take away/to-do for CitySpinning from this trip:

  •  Make a presentation/white-paper for PetPuja/Urban Farming Lab and meet people in the horticulture department
  • Figure out if as a pilot CitySpinning can grow vegetables, with the help of its volunteers and its the gardeners of BBMP, in the many public spaces in Yelahanka (the road-divider, circles, parks, road-side).

Watch out for updates.

A tulsi (basil) plant at every tea stall

a tulsi plant at every tea stall

Yesterday Sakshita, Sadhivi and Rutika started an effort to plant a Tulsi (Basil) plant at all the tea-shops of Yelahanka. In the picture above they plant the Basil seeds at the chai shop in front of Srishti’s old campus.

The anna at the tea-shop was very happy to have a personal tulsi plant at his shop, he suggested a nice corner for sowing the seeds and promised to look after the plant. So, ya, if you drink tea there in a few weeks maybe the taste of your tea will change.