As a part of the Design for behavioral change course, Ksenia Grigoryeva, Yingzi Ni, and Kristian K. Stougaard worked with sustainable gardening. The behavioral change course is a course where design for people and design for planet students get to work together on how design can engage people in changing behaviors towards sustainable living. The students have to conduct codesign laboratories with real-life partners in order to rehearse sustainable everyday practices. You can read more about the course here.
We wanted to explore the future of sustainable gardening. We reached out to citizens in Kolding City and the interest was huge. Together with them, we made a proposal. It is to create a local community around sustainable gardening as a way to raise awareness about biodiversity. In the end, we pitched the idea about forming a Sustainable Gardening Club to our client.
The issue that we worked with is that conventional gardening practices in Denmark don’t leave room for animals and biodiversity. There are many large areas in Kolding that are covered with gardens, so there is a big potential for making a difference in terms of sustainability. People can do it by changing things in their own gardens.
We conducted a social design lab with our nine participants. It consisted of 3 gatherings with the same people. The first time we went out and visited the participants’ gardens, where we observed and documented their behavior and thoughts about what they found important. The second gathering was a co-creation workshop at the “Bæredygtighedshuset“. The last gathering took place at the same location where we presented and re-enacted our concept with the participants.
‘’I think there is a revolution going on here. Because some years ago we didn’t even think about sustainability. Now we are doing something.’’ (Carsten, one of the participants).
We learned that people are really passionate about sustainable gardening and that they are the experts. Also, we found out that it is less about gaining new knowledge in a conventional sense through reading books, but more about learning through inspiring each other and sharing their different practices, but also thoughts and ideas. You (the citizen) can make a change starting in the small and go on to inspire and motivate others. Changes in everyday actions are necessary for society to be more sustainable.