Find us at the Park

As a foundational initiative and pilot project, "Find us at the Park" emerged to shed light on the importance for community spaces that harmonize with our environment while ensuring accessibility. The Budaiya Hub's primary aim was not to enact physical changes to Bahrain's parks; rather, it sought to highlight the parks as a necessary community space and to initiate conversations about essential requirements, while also emphasizing the significance of natural shading (provided by trees) in countering the Urban Heat Island effect, all of which would resonate with the relevant decision-makers.

This endeavor entailed the selection of diverse parks throughout the country, where themed activities were conducted and spotlighted via Instagram under the moniker "Find us at the park" – a call to literally find the Budaiya Hub in these parks. These activities encompassed a range of subjects; one of which was biodiversity where volunteers were invited and taught how to use iNaturalist to explore and document the local flora and fauna, consequently contributing to Bahrain's species database, as well as appreciate the fauna that comes with the flora.

Following the activities were discussions and surveys, focusing on volunteers' perspectives regarding the limited appeal of parks as recreational spaces, even in the winter months due to scorching summers. Diverse parks hosted different themes, like the inaugural hub meet of Budaiya and Manama Hubs, and a community-oriented event where traditional Bahraini games were revived, recorded, and a book club convened. These endeavors collectively pursued the short-term objective of generating awareness around park-related concerns and channeling these needs to relevant decision-makers.

Essentially, we brought people to the parks, conducted different activities which highlighted it’s multi-use and potential as a community space, and started a discussion at the park and collected responses using a survey to understand the community’s view of the parks.

This journey has resulted in the current and ongoing collaboration with UN-Habitat for a national project, the "National Wide Afforestation Assessment Plan." Budaiya Hub's role in mobilizing volunteers and learning how to conduct the data collection earned them data collector facilitator certification from UN-Habitat. The initiative, in the first phase of data collection (August-September 2023) has garnered approximately 60 applicants, facilitated training for 25 volunteers in partnership with UN-Habitat, and currently supports data collection efforts across Bahrain's parks. This will continue to December 2023 with more calls to volunteers.

The subsequent project phase also includes a temperature study to illustrate the contrast between shaded and unshaded areas, further endorsing the cause of afforestation in public spaces. What began as a pilot project by Budaiya Hub has evolved into a crucial partnership with the UN-Habitat office in Bahrain, affirming our shared commitment to enhancing public spaces and environmental well-being.