Pakistan is an agricultural country. Majority of the population is living in rural hinterlands where they are engaged in agricultural practices. But the very popular trend is to move towards urban centres in search of better opportunities in life. Accompanied with this trend is the massive social, economic, ecological and environmental pressure on cities that merits attention of policy makers.
What is more, while moving towards cities, most people do not bring along the desire to live in green natural environment and do not practice any kind of agricultural, exceptions apart. In densely populated urban centres, most of the green space has been paved over in favour of concrete. Despite the scarcity of land in urban areas, agriculture can be practiced in the form of hanging gardens, gardening on the rooftops or moving gardens.
This practice will bring environmental benefits: the gardens at the rooftop can provide insulation effect and shelter from extreme temperature – less electric consumptions to keep the homes cool in summers. Some fresh flowers or some vegetables may be harvested from well-tended hanging garden round the year. The air will be cleaner and there will be less smog in cities.
Rooftops are generally unused spaces, they have exposure to sunlight and rainwater, and they are found in the centre of even the densely inhabited urban areas, unless they are being used as a junk stores. In that case, any flat space available can be turned into a garden. It could be a driveway, sidewalk, or a section of a parking lot or a bay window. There are even shad loving shrubs and decorative plans that can be grown under shades in case open sunny spaces are not available.
There may be some initial cost. But that in any case will be lesser than sky rocketing prices of land in the cities. And one could start t a smaller scale. Even flowerpots can be starting point for a movable garden. Gardens in flowerpots can be moved from one place to another. The flower arrangements can be changed every now and then for altogether a new looks every time. Even pots can be fun and colourful. Any empty container can be converted into a flowerpot with a bit of an effort. One can have the local plants as per the need and taste. Moving gardens can be moved inside home as well.
This concept is not yet popular in our part of the world. Though developed West has found this concept very appealing and designers are turning to construct houses with gardens at the rooftops. Many technological solutions are also available in the market and people are fast adapting to this practice.
Imagine being in a garden on a roof in a sunny winter afternoon in the company of butterflies or having a basant bash in among full-grown flowers in the company of night flies (jugno), bougainvillea flowers hanging all around a home or weeping willows branches coming down gracefully. This will add value in life.
Gardens have the potential to take us back to the human ecology we lost when we entered the industrial age and now fast cyber age. The winter is the best season to grow flowers. The season is about to set in. Get ready to start this winter. Choice is our own!