Inspired by a twitter post I read on the Wednesday morning of flood week, I ended up writing a song called ‘Sunshine and Hellicopters’. I feel like this kind of sums up the surreal atmosphere in Brisbane over those few days.
If you’re anything like me you’re still wishing people a happy new year despite the fact that the year is already 7.6% complete. A certain unprecedented flood event has no doubt left us all disoriented and questioning not only where January went but moreso where normal life went?
Obviously most have heard the news that the basement level of the Edge filled up like a fish tank and it’s likely we’ll be off the premises for a little while longer. In the meantime we’re all trying to power on remotely so that we’re ready to return with a bang to the building when it opens again.
So for now I’m going to share a few ideas for returning the brown things in your life back to green, ideas for creating a new kind of South East QLD ‘normal’ and a quick recap on some of the stuff I was working on before the flood.
From brown to green
I don’t claim to be a gardening expert by any means but I seem to be doing a lot of it lately. From what I have garnered through a bit of research the main issues that arise from flooding of plants and gardens is the presence of mud, salt water and bacteria. Here’s some useful online resources I’ve tracked down. Please feel free to share yours in the comments section of this post:
- Advice for restoring productive gardens after a flood
- Some basic advice for ornammental gardens and lawn restoration
- Another site with basic advice for ornamental gardens
Rebuild and rethink
An overwhelming number of people joined the mud army over the last couple of weeks helping with the immediate flood cleanup. If you still have availability and enthusiasm there are still many places in need:
- This weekend (29/01) there is a need for volunteers in ESK, Fernvale, Lockyer Waters and surrounds. To help text 0411887926
- Brisbane Floods Volunteer Community on Facebook
- Volunteering Queensland
From New Orleans to Brisbane
I stumbled on this recently released book of pro-bono work done by architects in the wake of the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. In the case of Katrina, the widespread destruction of housing and displacement of its residents lead to an unprecedented influx of architects and design thinkers coming together to rebuild the city.
Already in SEQ a similar wave of enthusiasm and optimism is evident in the co-ordinated efforts of groups such as Emergency Architects Australia, The Australian Institute of Architects, and its peak service body Archicentre. Obviously the immediate cleanup, restoration and provision of basic shelter is the key priority right now, but what about the future? Through crisis comes innovation and emerging from this crisis is an opportunity to rethink and adapt SEQ building typologies for future natural disasters as well as rising sea levels.
In conversations I’ve had with other architects and designers over the last two weeks we’ve shared practical as well as fanciful ideas for adapting our existing and new buildings for disaster. In the coming weeks we hope to facilitate an opportunity to bring together ideas in a workshop at the Edge (when it re-opens), to be later published online. Keep an eye on our website to see how this unfolds and please email me if you have ideas or would like to be involved.
Before the flood
Before the mud and the flood I was doing other stuff.
On the 18 December we held the first seed bombing workshop at the Edge. This was a lot of fun and everyone enjoyed getting their hands dirty. With the rain that followed the seed bombs that have been dropped around town are starting to really take off. Check out the interactive google map that is tracking the location and progress of each of our s-bombs and why not get involved by following the step by step instructions for making your own s-bombs? More photos of the seed bombs growing here.
Edge Front Garden
Meanwhile, with more seeds than we could squeeze into a few dozen seed bombs, we decided to turn our empty front planter box into somewhat of a seedling incubator. After setting up a nice DIY self-watering system our little rig was quickly re-located to higher ground just in time to see the planter box under a metre and half of water. Once we can get back into the area we’ll be setting it up again with some panels explaining the different species we’re raising.
After the short-lived QR code on our outside wall (also recently under water), I’ve been experimenting at my place (thanks to my very supportive landlords) with a little space invader. We now have permission to moss graff the Edge wall again, so once we can get back in look forward to seeing some more moss on the wall!
After the flood
I leave you with a clip from one of my favourite Australian songwriters, Jamie Hutchings (of Bluebottle Kiss) and a song that has been rolling around in my head for the last two weeks.