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Green, beautiful and social

Project: Eco yard – Łódź citizens take care of climate

Area 3. Building democratic culture and civic engagement at local level (including activism for environment and climate change)

This is a very successful example of pro-environmental and social activities carried out by an organisation that ‘deals with culture’. The Lux Pro Monumentis Foundation from Łódź decided to implement an eco-project. The project’s specifics is the combination of ecology, aesthetics and art, as well as the activities for people’s well-being of people and their environment at the same time. The example of the Eco backyard project shows that it works!

Our dream was to turn the backyards in Łódź into beautiful places, filled with greenery. In short, our goal is to turn the city’s concretosis into a truly green jungle! To improve the state of ecosystems, increase biodiversity and raise the environmental awareness of Łódź residents.

As part of the project, those residents of Łódź who wished to change their backyards into greener and more pleasant ones could apply to the Foundation via a simple form. In the end, three courtyards in the Łódź downtown area were selected to undergo a green metamorphosis. Shrubs, grass and climbing plants were planted there. Residents were also invited to workshops on the design of garden furniture and objects, so that they became co-creators of concepts for hammocks, benches and gazebos. Local artists were also invited to leave their creative mark on the transformed spaces.

The idea was to mobilise people to be active in protecting the environment “in their neighbourhood”. The second objective was to improve the quality of people’s lives on a day-to-day basis. As part of the project workshops of neighbourhood garden design were carried out, combined with research walks and gardening works in revitalised backyards. Residents first presented their concepts and then, in consultation with a landscape architect, biologist and gardener, selected plants, created their own compositions and learned how to care for the plants.

Green, beautiful and social

The eco-backyards were therefore not only about greenery, but also about the aesthetics and social dimension of the revitalised spaces. The question ‘How can the space be changed to counteract, at least on a small scale, the effects of global warming?’ was therefore equivalent to ‘How can the environment act on the senses and increase the comfort and integration of residents?”.

Anyone who has visited Łódź at least once has certainly noticed the magic of the city’s backyards. They are unique spaces beside the tenement houses that reflect the city’s unusual character. Some of them are narrow and cold, others are elegant and transformed by works of art. It is in those backyards that the enchanting Joanna Rajkowska glass mosaic is to be found as well as the historic sukkah, that symbolises the four cultures of Łódź and the fairytale painting by Wojciech Siudmak,’ as the project promoters claim.

Among these fantastic places, there are also old time backyards that are grey and forgotten. These are filled with concrete, have no vegetation, and cannot be a source of joy, good energy or pleasure for people. Without any hope for change, the residents do not treat their backyards as their own space and do not engage in any activity there.

With the project ‘Eco backyard – Łódź citizens take care of climate’ we wanted to change this sad situation. We want the Łódź’s backyards to become beautiful spaces that are filled with greenery and encourage people to stay there. We wish them to be places that increase urban biodiversity and raise the ecological awareness of residents, the so-called little lungs of Łódź’.

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More information about the project