Urban Interventionism: Steve Wheen’s Pothole Gardens are Tiny Living Worlds

(All images by The Pothole Gardener (Steve Wheen – Flickr), reproduced with permission)

Readers need look no further than the homepage of this website to see the extent of urban decay and abandonment in our towns and cities.  But even thriving communities are plagued by potholes that local authorities never seem to fix.  Enter pothole gardener Steve Wheen, whose charming creations put a decidedly floral spin on the concept of urban interventionism in London.

Unlike other pothole gardeners who stick to flowers in a bid to beautify the urban disrepair, this guerrilla gardener goes a step further by adding, among other things, miniature benches, road signs and tennis courts.  Speaking to Treehugger, Wheen explained how he “fills potholes in roads and sidewalks with soil and living plants, decorating the spaces with miniature props to create tiny worlds.”

His pothole gardens have featured on various sites across the web and blogosphere, including DesignBoom and inhabitat.  Some point out that the potholes shouldn’t be there in the first place, while others focus on the overall benefit the tiny arrangements bring to the built environment.

Whatever your take, these charming little worlds are enjoyed by passers-by and help create community, while at the same time serving to “highlight how crap our roads and footpaths are.”

Living Streets, in an article titled “Why we love the pothole gardener“, said: “To us, the pothole gardener represents the kind of thing Living Streets wants to see more of – small and beautiful things that make people take a moment out of their busy day to smile and appreciate their community.”

All images courtesy of Steve Wheen (Flickr).  Be sure to check out his video below!

Keep reading – if you’re a fan of urban interventionism, check out Pete Dungey’s potholes and guerrilla gardening.



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