Artwork / Urban Empathy Garden

Built along natural farming principals, we transform an empty urban lot into a natural garden based on empathy with all living things, including the weeds, bugs, and all of the life that enters the space. This empathy is woven into a series of arts and environment workshops, and eventually carried into the community by those who visit the garden.

Images from the 'compassion garden' part of our REALtimeFOOD community project in Osaka, Japan (Images by SocieCity)
Images from the ’empathy garden’ part of our REALtimeFOOD community project in Osaka, Japan (Images by SocieCity)

Project Overview

A component of our REALtimeFOOD project, the Urban Empathy Garden is a base camp for learning and bringing empathy to the life of a neighborhood. The first Urban Empathy Garden was built in an under-served urban area in the Kitakagaya neighborhood of Osaka, Japan.

With a ‘natural farming’ mentality, we build and maintain a garden in harmony with weeds, bugs, and all of the life which would naturally occur in this empty lot during the growing season. Rather than drawing up a rigid design or development principals, the process is one of watching, listening, cultivating a relationship with the space and its inhabitants, and responding to that relationship with empathy.

Built along natural farming principals, we transform an empty urban lot into a natural garden based on empathy with all living things, including the weeds, bugs, and all of the life that enters the space. Being a basis for the garden, this empathy is woven into a series of arts and environment

To bring this idea of relationships and compassion into the community, we host a series of open arts and environment workshops in the garden.

Vegetables and herbs grown in the garden are used for a community dinner at our REALtimeFOOD restaurant. and extra produce and flowers are donated every few days to restaurants, shops, and homes in the neighborhood.

Project Team and Partners

Conceived and built by Patrick Lydon and Suhee Kang.

Supported in part by a grant from Chishima Foundation for Creative Osaka with additional support from  Isao Suizu (Aichi University of the Arts),  Air Osaka Hostel, Co.To.Hanna / Minna Nouen, Lateral Lab

Project coordination in Japan by Ikumasa Hayashi, Yasutaka Kaneda, Emi Ogata, Kaori Tsuji

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