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.
6826 5th Street NW
Washington, DC 20012
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