Community Gardening is the Answer to Urban Blight
- Subject: [cg] Community Gardening is the Answer to Urban Blight
- From: Adam36055@aol.com
- Date: Tue, 25 Mar 2003 18:13:35 EST
- Content-language: en
Baltimore's mulch initiative is a start...but best way to stabilize
neighborhoods by getting folks involved on a grassroots basis in the greening
of their neighborhoods is community gardening.
Please go to these websites - read a bit, and see what mulching, planting,
gardening and "growing community from the ground up" is all about.
<A HREF="http://www.communitygarden.org/">American Community Gardening
<A HREF="http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/">Clinton Community Garden</A>
More than mulch, it's people and plants.
<< Subj: (Public.Spaces) Mulch Frequently the Answer to Urban Blight
Date: 3/25/03 5:34:39 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Katie Salay)
What do you think about Baltimore's mulch initiative?
Mulch Frequently the Answer to Urban Blight
The Baltimore Sun
They've tried "zero tolerance." They've tried empowerment zones. They've
tried demolishing public housing high-rises. Now, Baltimore officials
are trying the latest proposed cure for drug-ridden streets and urban
blight: garden mulch.
Hoping to bring a fresher look and perhaps even a whiff of woods to some
of Baltimore's 12,573 vacant lots, a new program aims to scatter several
tons of mulch throughout the city's most dilapidated neighborhoods.
Mayor Martin O'Malley imported the earthy strategy from Chicago, hoping
that it will boost morale in city blocks besieged by crime and rubbish.
"What I like best about the mulch is that it sends a signal, however
small, that we know a vacant lot is here in this neighborhood," O'Malley
said. "However small, the message is that City Hall is paying attention
to this little patch of earth."
For a city with gaping holes in its housing stock, putting down mulch —
made by the city from dead and storm-damaged trees it clears from
properties — in its vacant spaces is a modest solution to an enormous
problem. Along with the vacant lots, Baltimore has 12,045 abandoned
houses, according to a recent estimate by the Baltimore Neighborhood
Before the mulch is spread, vacant lots are cleaned of debris, trash and
used drug paraphernalia. Some of the lots will be landscaped with tiny
trees and faux wrought-iron black fences. Dozens more vacant lots will
be mulched this summer by the city's Recreation and Parks Department.
Mulch, which keeps the ground warmer in winter and cooler in summer,
will break down into soil in a year or so, said Marion Bedingfield, the
city arborist. After that, it is not clear what the city intends to do
with the lots in the program. Whether some lots could be converted into
community garden plots has not been decided, city officials said.
In Chicago, which put the mulch theory to work in the early 1990s, the
idea is used in all 50 city wards. It began as a way to keep weeds from
sprouting but grew into something much bigger.
Al Sanchez, Chicago's commissioner of streets and sanitation, said
mulched lots — simple as they seem — help to improve a community.
"They get rave reviews with the citizens. You can't believe the
response, it's so positive," Sanchez said. "It helps the whole
neighborhood. It might be a vacant lot, but it doesn't have to look like
a deplorable slum." >>
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