A London-based regeneration project known as The Edible Bus Stop is using guerrilla gardening tactics to transform mundane public spaces in London, such as the humble bus stop, into oases of urban greenery.
Co-founded by British gardening duo Mak Gilchrist and Will Sandy, the project began as a response to a property developer’s proposal to sell the only area of urban greenery then left in Gilchrist’s own London neighbourhood for building works.
Its first incarnation, in July 2012, was the Edible Bus Stop/A Riot of Colour – a ‘pop-up garden’ created for Hampton Court Flower Show, London – using artefacts such as a graffitied phone box and car, intended to represent London’s 2011 summer riots.
Since then, the project – with the help of a small band of local volunteers – has been transforming neglected bus stops and other pockets of under-used urban space around the city into a network of community gardens and vegetable allotments.
According to Sandy and Gilchrist, these spaces are vital touch-points for furthering green urban living and creating a sense of ownership for locals, with the hope of reducing anti-social behaviour within the city.
There are currently two edible bus stops – both located in South London. If the project proves to be a hit with the local community, Gilchrist hopes to take the project to further locations in south London, then nationwide.
For more on how and why neglected urban areas are being regenerated into green and considerably more profitable havens, see the reports The Playful City, High Line 2: New York, New City?, Green Roofing for the Vertical City, and Rooftop Revolution.