Joyful activism is a theme that keeps popping up these days. Rather than angry protests, a lot of people are realizing that a good way to effect change is to make people feel good.
I love this project, the Bed Stuy Meadow, by 21st Century Plowshare, the goal of which is to cover every vacant patch of land in the somewhat rough-and-ready neighborhood with wildflowers. Joy is at the heart of the activist premise:
The profusion of wildflowers will probably be relentless and visually unifying, and this relentless unity of wildflowers will probably make anyone walking down the street feel really good.
And the designer here recognizes that such positivity can have a contagious effect:
I want people who don’t even live within the five boroughs to visit Bed Stuy for the first time so that they can see the Meadow with their own eyes, and I want people who will never even come to be so inspired by the Bed Stuy Meadow that they make their own amazing neighborhood project and share it on 21st Century Plowshare.
Guerrilla actions such as this one have a much greater likelihood of success when the tone is positive. In a way, the Bed-Stuy meadow is a form of graffiti, the exertion of one person’s artistic will over a communal environment, but who can object to flowers? I think we’ll be seeing a lot more initiatives like this one in the coming years.