This project came forth as an observation of a vacant lot, of which are countless in the City of Chicago (about 16,000), that is located in my resident neighborhood, of my childhood and presently once again. As I am involved in neighborhood organizations addressing local concerns, it has become evident that there is a need and desire within the community for a garden. The potential relationship I see between the school, Goethe Elementary and the vacant lot across the street seems priceless. However, currently, the vacant lot is not priceless for the man who is the current owner sees that vacant lot as a potential for development into single family homes. At this point in the project, relationships have been built and are being reaffirmed over time, and although it is widely known that the particular lot across the street from the school will not be available for use at this time, we have found lots that are owned by the City of Chicago on Stave street in Logan Square. It seems these lots will be much easier to be granted permission to use those lots for community gardens without the worrisome possibility of being removed once development ensues in the nearer future.
This is the area in which the two lots we are currently focusing are located, you can visibly see them.
This is a picture of the lot that is to be developed:
The size is evident within the perspective, about ten houses can fit on this lot, and an even bigger and much needed urban agricultural area.
With the accomplishment of addressing and consensus that Logan Square would benefit from maintaining a community garden, it is easier to move forward with building the foundations within the community. My role within this project in my community has been that of a catalyst, although the idea of a community garden has been eluded to in the past, it had been barely acted upon.
It is important to address certain elements in relation to the creation of this garden, such as linking gardens to nutrition, stewardship, education, both art and knowledge, and more can to be expanded upon.
This is a picture of what I had envisioned for this lot, aerial view:
My ultimate vision is to create a network of community gardens in the neighborhood that address food accessibility, community concerns in the community as well as the elementary schools, but reinforce community values, creates a sense of public space that nourishes the need for green space, all the while using art as a form of communication.
An action plan is to be discussed with the already formed community connections.