Ballymun (Dublin), Ireland, 2003 - 2014
“Places without trees are poor wherever they are, places without trees are no-flight zones for birds"

Jochen Gerz has been commissioned by Dublin City Council to realise a sculpture on the future Civic Plaza of Ballymun. Ballymun in north Dublin is currently undergoing one of Europe’s biggest regenerations and the majority of the 20,000 residents are to be rehoused as part of a 10 year Masterplan to rebuild the town.

The idea for amaptocare is to inverse the routine of social housing and institutional urbanism by asking the residents to make a public donation. With an emphasis on public authorship and ownership of public space, Gerz invites the local residents as well as people from other areas, to donate a tree for Ballymun and contribute to the future of the area. The site and the species can be chosen. Each donor is asked the question, “If this tree could speak, what should it say for you?" The donors’ responses are published on a lectern beside their tree.

Contributor May Harvey said, "I donate this tree in order to say thank you to this community. I want to give back a little thing. Even if this cedar will be big, it is a little thing compared to all the love and contentment that I have found there."
Eya Ofuka who moved to Ireland 4 years ago from Nigeria said “This tree symbolises our arrival here and our attempt to set up a new home. It has not been easy but with time we grow and change, building a new house where we can welcome other people too: like a tree that gives shelter for strangers."

The names of the donors are to be engraved on the Civic Plaza. At the centre of the granite pavement covered with names, a glass map of the new Ballymun (24 x 24 m) will be installed surrounded by the first species of each of the 15 species people could donate. The map will be illuminated by a series of bright lights, each marking the site of a donated tree.
635 people have donated a tree.

The inauguration of amaptocare at the City Plaza is now planned to co-incide with the
commencement of the new Metro service to
Dublin Airport.
© Breaking Ground
© Breaking Ground