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Jardin urbain, Pocket Park
© Soly Volná

Pocket Park in Burkina Faso

A green space project in response to urban densification, Pocket Park wants to think about ecology and urban planning in a creative and collective way. It combines artistic creation with respect for the environment.

Updated on 11/05/2020

2 min

At a time when major cultural events are not possible, it’s important to turn to smaller-scale projects that build social and sustainable ties brick by brick. Pocket Park – or “parc de poche” – in French, is one of them. This green space project was launched in 2018 on small or abandoned plots in response to urban densification by the JUMP (Youth United for a Positive Movement) association.

Reflection on consumer trends

The JUMP association introduces a reflection on consumer trends to public dialogue. It brings together young professionals from all walks of life: artists, architects, artisans, designers, IT specialists, dancers, gardeners, sociologists, welders and many others. Together, they are united in their choice to make creativity a factor in social integration, particularly among young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. They take a pan-African view of informal education, the environment and sustainable urban systems for mutual understanding and social unity.

In 2018, in the Patte d’Oie district of Ouagadougou, JUMP members and volunteers launched the beginnings of a first urban garden. Today, the project has taken a cross-disciplinary turn and aims to solve a major problem in the district: seasonal flooding and rising groundwater levels.

In 2020, the JUMP association is launching a series of participatory workshops to kick off this project and provide a landscaped creation consisting of small developments of greenery and urban furniture.

Raising awareness of the impact of pollution

The first of these workshops was "Studio Poubelle" in April 2020. Under the direction of designers Kader Kaboré and Sahab Koanda, the eight participants designed bins made from recycled and reusable materials, suitable for outdoor use and compliant with health rules. Workshops that allow people to experiment and look at the tools available in terms of their creative potential and their sustainable use.

Throughout 2020 work is also being carried out to clean up urban reserves to revitalise these public spaces flooded with illegal landfills, with the support of the Municipality of Ouagadougou. This enhances the public space and makes it attractive again to its inhabitants.

Pocket Park continues in October with a workshop organised in Ethiopia, “Hands on the Pocket Park”, at the Ethiopian Institute of Technology in Mekelle (School of Architecture and Urban Planning) and at Gondar University for the annual workshops organised with studio unlimitedJCA, under the direction of Michaela Solnická, architect, and Souleymane Ladji Kone, co-founder of JUMP.

Trans-African cooperation, responding to social inequality

From Ouagadougou to the eastern tip of Africa, the Pocket Park project supports trans-African cooperation and provides a network for African architects and designers. A broader programme to promote greening, community links, security and the continued cleaning up of urban reserves.

Acting collectively for the common good of environmental health and proposing new consumer models and original ways of living serve as examples and shared actions that especially resonate today, given the importance of rethinking our habits and coping with insecurity while still maintaining freedoms.

On its own level, Pocket Park shows us that it is possible to address the social inequalities that are inseparable from environmental inequalities. An encouraging example for global thinking.

The Institut français and the project

In 2020, the Pocket Park project benefited from the support of the Institut français as part of its support programme for African and Caribbean civil society operators.

L'institut français, LAB