The Giving Tree installed in Phola Park – A photo Essay
image August, 2016 Uncategorized

Earlier this year, PEP was contacted by 2 independent designers about a ‘place-making’ intervention they had developed, called The Giving Tree.

The Giving Tree project is a incremental upgrading and service delivery scheme that focuses on developing a small scale, cost effective, prefabricated water platform and place-making intervention. The intention is for the project to be implemented in informal settlement communities lacking adequate access to water points. The Giving Tree unit comprises of a concrete base, a sitting bench, space to accommodate up to 4 taps and a planted tree. The core intentions of the project are:

1 – To develop an easily implementable object that would fulfil the function of a traditional/in-situ water/wash platform but that would cost a fraction of the price.

2 – To be adaptable to the individual requirements of potential host communities.

3- To be implemented in a series of units, arranged along strategic routes of pedestrian movement. The sites of implementation would hopefully develop into nodes of social activity. These nodes, in turn, could act make safe the route through added community surveillance.

4 – To introduce trees into informal urban environments.

PEP partnered with the designers to connect them with the Phola Park Community in which the installation could be done. Along with some of the committee members, a site for the installation was selected and the adjacent shack owners’ were consulted about the intervention.

The prototype was delivered to site and installed on Mandela Day this year, (18 July, 2016), and later the paving was laid. We are now waiting for the donation of a large fruit tree from GreenPop to complete the project.

The intervention comes at an interesting time in the settlement’s development, as the standard ‘city-issued’ tap and basin banks have just been installed near the communal toilet blocks. However, The Giving Tree has been installed near to a block of toilets that does not have the basin units and there are only 2 taps for the filling of buckets. The designers intend to monitor and evaluate ‘The Giving Tree’ over time, to assess whether or not it becomes a social space and to understand what design improvements should be made to the initial pilot unit.

A huge thanks must go to PPC cement for their sponsorship of the project. They granted the designers money to design and build the first prototype. And a big thanks to Corobrik for the generous donation of bricks for paving around the unit.

The crane truck really had a tight entrance to navigate, but thanks to a skilled driving, and the willingness of a community member to temporarily move their boundary fence, the crane truck was able to reverse right up to the site, to lower the 2 ton concrete installation!
The crane truck really had a tight entrance to navigate, but thanks to a skilled driving, and the willingness of a community member to temporarily move their boundary fence, the crane truck was able to reverse right up to the site, to lower the 2 ton concrete installation!
Interested community members gather to see what is happening on the chosen site for installation.
Interested community members gather to see what is happening on the chosen site for installation.
The crane hard at work, lifting the concrete installation well above all roofs, but careful not to hit any overhead electrical lines!
The crane hard at work, lifting the concrete installation well above all roofs, but careful not to hit any overhead electrical lines!
The concrete installation is slowly lowered onto the site
The concrete installation is slowly lowered onto the site
The concrete installation is guided into place, by community members careful not to get their toes in the way!
The concrete installation is guided into place, by community members careful not to get their toes in the way!
Our ever over-eager employee, Claire extremely excited about the ‘landing’ of The Giving Tree
Our ever over-eager employee, Claire extremely excited about the ‘landing’ of The Giving Tree
The benches are attached, by community workers
The benches are attached, by community workers
Mandela Day volunteer, Andrew stands in the ‘pot’ section to tighten the bolts, while designer Sebastian and community leader Billy test the stability of the attached bench.
Mandela Day volunteer, Andrew stands in the ‘pot’ section to tighten the bolts, while designer Sebastian and community leader Billy test the stability of the attached bench.
Community members jump on to test out their new public space!
Community members jump on to test out their new public space!
Side view of the bench, while in the background, community members carry the second piece of the bench into position.
Side view of the bench, while in the background, community members carry the second piece of the bench into position.
The second piece of the bench was a little more troublesome to attach than the first, and had to be ‘wiggled’ (rather vigorously jostled) into place!
The second piece of the bench was a little more troublesome to attach than the first, and had to be ‘wiggled’ (rather vigorously jostled) into place!
Minor adjustments to the bench needed to be made, nothing a hammer drill can’t fix!
Minor adjustments to the bench needed to be made, nothing a hammer drill can’t fix!
Finally! The installation is in place and the benches are both attached!
Finally! The installation is in place and the benches are both attached!
2 weeks later we returned to the site to install the paving around the concrete installation, as well as connect the water pipes for the tap.
2 weeks later we returned to the site to install the paving around the concrete installation, as well as connect the water pipes for the tap.
The shelf for buckets is lifted into place
The shelf for buckets is lifted into place
A production line was set up to hand Andile bricks as he laid them at incredible speeds!
A production line was set up to hand Andile bricks as he laid them at incredible speeds!
Oh! There she is again, always over-eager…
Oh! There she is again, always over-eager…
The paving was laid so quickly, Archie had to work fast to connect up the tap!
The paving was laid so quickly, Archie had to work fast to connect up the tap!
The site was an absolute hive of activity, attracting curious community members to come and see what was happening.
The site was an absolute hive of activity, attracting curious community members to come and see what was happening.
And by the end of the weekend, the paving was laid, the tap was connected and bucket shelf had been secured! All creating an exciting new public space.
And by the end of the weekend, the paving was laid, the tap was connected and bucket shelf had been secured! All creating an exciting new public space.
The bucket shelf and tap
The bucket shelf and tap
Little community members enjoying the new bench
Little community members enjoying the new bench