Similar to the community gardens founded in the 70's and 80's that “took back” abandoned and blighted land, this garden reclaims a landscape that would otherwise be developed into housing that maximizes profit at the expense of the context of the neighborhood. The location of this garden is, by default, a statement against the excess development of the area during the housing boom. Taking advantage of the current dip in development, stalled projects and ruins created by the lack of financing, the site is reclaimed from a new type of abandonment. It creates a greater diversity of land use in the neighborhood.
Greenacre Park was designed by Sasaki, Dawson, DeMay Associates with Masao Kinoshita as lead designer. Greenacre Park opened in 1971 as a “vest” pocket park and is privately funded and maintained by Abby Rockefeller Mauze’s Greenacre Foundation. The park is 60-feet wide by 120-feet deep, and conveys an impression of far greater size through a series of well-defined, separate spaces, lush planting, textural variation, and the dramatic use of water...
Ecological goals for an urban garden:
Identify and remediate contaminants.
Reuse suitable exiting site elements to make landscape features such as retaining walls and rubble to shape constructed landscapes or planting beds.
Keep water on site through means of planting, permeable surfaces and proper drainage. This minimizes the use of the already over-taxed municipal sewer system. Use collected site water for irrigation by collecting and storing it in an underground cistern located on the site.
Without design intent and maintenance, an urban garden is a result of uncontrolled, pre-existing, forces. Airborne seeds or those carried by animals, invasive species, pollutants, litter and storm water reshape the life of the urban site. The process occurs in vacant lots throughout the city.
The size of an urban lot cannot achieve the scale and diversity needed for a self-sustaining ecosystem. The garden must be maintained by its occupants to remain in its desired state. “Nature” is reconstructed in an idealized human form. This is the space for design to enter the landscape of the city.