Why my latest project is a FAILURE and why that is AWESOME!

Okay, so you probably know that I have been working on the Seeding the City project for over two years now. And this past September the project launched! YAY! It was a long time in the planning stages.

green roof modules at covenant house

So the point of the project was to find a handful of people who were interested in installing small green roof modules (little trays of green roof that were less than 2’x4′). These people were then to reach out to their friends/neighbors to interest them in putting modules on their roofs too. The goals were to create a network of people in a region who were all interested in urban environmental issues and spark a wave of green roof building – more on all that here.

So it started slowly with a few people interested – I kind of thought there would be loads of people who wanted a free green roof! Then I started to get interest from institutions, and although this wasn’t the intended audience, it seemed like a good idea anyway. So when we went to install the first modules the comments were along the lines of “that’s it?” “that’s so easy!” — and I realized (after my great experience with the planting program with Covenant House) that there was some other potential here. So I brought up the idea of doing a planting program with the residents of this particular institution. If they cover the costs (at just over $1,000) we could do run a half day workshop and by the end of that they would have a larger green roof – about 2,000 square feet worth!

Seeding the City flag

I have since planted at a pre-school, an environmental organization and another school, all of whom are interested in doing planting workshops in the spring! So that is 4 more green roofs than NYC had before I started the project.

So, while I may not (yet) be getting the broad reach that I had hoped for, I am getting to install some larger scale green roofs with some great people. And the green roof education reaches a broad base of people who will one day build their own networks…

modules & flag

2 Responses to Why my latest project is a FAILURE and why that is AWESOME!

  1. rejinl says:

    Hi Eve. I wonder if individuals didn’t step forward in expected numbers because of the neighborhood outreach element. I was very interested in participating earlier in the year when I lived in Bed-Stuy, but unfortunately I didn’t know the neighbors and could not imagine myself approaching them about the project. This would be a great way to connect people and get them involved in working together if only we were not already so isolated and alienated from each other!

    • eve says:

      I totally agree with you. Even though I have found that young people that I have worked with are happy to reach out to others once they are armed with a little knowledge, we adults are much more timid about connecting with people. I was hoping the project had enough appeal to overcome that. It’s a great learning experience about the real and perceived boundaries that exist in a place like New York City! Maybe I can work on a project that really explores that aspect…

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