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NY City's Garden Weasels

  • Subject: [cg] NY City's Garden Weasels
  • From: Grow19@aol.com
  • Date: Sat, 4 Aug 2001 12:43:14 EDT

To The NY Daily News

In response to "New York City's Garden Weasels" Editorial August 3, 2001:

Community gardens in NY (and in large and small cities all across the United 
States)  are an urban planning and economica development opportunity and an 
asset, not an obstruction.  The editorial reads like municipally-funded 

The short story of community gardens?  They became plentiful in NY and other 
cities at a time when land fell vacant due to economic circumstances.  And 
while the gardens may have been initiatied as 'interim use only' land use 
projects, they have become important public-private partnerships.  Several 
points need to be made.

First, many community gardens have become important features of neighborhood 
life, providing youth recreation and education opportunities, increasing 
public safety, reducing trash dumping, bridging neighborhood differences, 
improving the quality of neighborhood life.  These are important municipal 
considerations that cannot be tossed aside.

Second, there is much to be learned here by looking at the history of open 
space in the U.S.  In cities across the county, the parks and recreation 
centers we value and take for granted were set aside at times of urban 
expansion because they were recognized to be powerful economic assets, urban 
features that would enhance the quality of neighborhood life while increasing 
value of adjacent properties.  This opportunity now exists in the case of 
NY's community gardens.

Finally, community gardens in NY fill only a fraction of the city's vacant 
land.  First create housing and other development on fully-idle land, taking 
care to include adequate and well-developed open space, and revisit the 
status of the city's 750-1000 community garden when no other land is 
available anywhere in the city.

Summary?  First, learn from history.  Second, call upon the best models of 
urban planning that the country and the world have to offer.  Third, be 
creative.  Fourth, strive to be a global model.  Finally, recognize and 
celebrate neighborhood assets.

New York City now has the opportunity to embrace community gardens while 
becoming a world model of urban renewal.  The now years-long battle over the 
status of community gardens is a misguided waste.  History will not look 
kindly upon the short-sighted and mean-spirited attitude of the Guiliani 
administration, especially when there are alternatives, including creation of 
a strategic urban planning engaging municipal, business, housing, open space, 
and community  leaders.  

Judy Tiger
6826 5th Street NW
Washington, DC  20012

community_garden maillist  -  community_garden@mallorn.com

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