The International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC) is located in Petit Saconnex, the international neighbourhood in Geneva, which is home to several other international organisations. Unlike other organisations though, that are predominantly surrounded by offices and embassies, the IFRC is located near a residential area and is peppered with community organisations, churches, and mosques in the vicinity of the Palace du Petit Saconnex (neighbourhood square).
The IFRC headquarters is housed in a single building. The rest of its campus can be broadly divided into a garden, a concrete street front facing the Chemin des Crêst, a terrace connected to the indoor restaurant that is open to locals, and the urban forest that sits next to one of Geneva's ecological corridors.
Due to participants' awareness of the site's existing context, their thoughts during the participatory process were spontaneously based on pre-existing elements, listed below:
The participants described it as an important cool place that protects them against the city's constantly growing urban heat island effect. It was described as a calm oasis where one felt at a distance from urban bustle, while being surrounded by the city. The residents proposed adding clearer pathways designed for people with reduced mobility. They also proposed that there should be benches or places to sit in the forest which should be open at night with adequate lighting.
Most IFRC members referred to the forest as a 'secret forest' because they did not know about it. They conveyed that the forest looks like private land or a cul de sac, and the path to it from the square is not clear. Hence, the proposed landscaping plan must address the continuity issue with current paths and streets.
Furthermore, the role of water in the future landscaping project was central to the discussions. Residents who have lived in the neighbourhood for a long time remembered a little rivulet flowing through the forest, the riverbed of which is still visible.The urbz team had more conversations with locals about the rivulet and the possibility of reintroducing it to the forests. Questions like "Where did the water originate from?" and "Could the tiny pond welcome the rain waters from the IFRC rooftop and building?" drove the conversation.