I am excited to report that the Learning Garden groundbreaking was a success, as the response from the Deanwood community regarding the garden installation was a collective “YES we want this”! Representatives of The New School’s Urban Communities class and non-profit partner Groundwork, Anacostia River DC conversed with neighborhood residents about the plans thus far, obtaining important feedback from the 20 neighbors (all of whom lived in close proximity to the garden site) who stopped by to partake in the event.
James, a neighbor that has lived on the same street as the garden site for 45 years commented on how that lot has always been “nothing but weeds.” While looking over the plans for the site, James and others expressed excitement at the thought of this lot turning into a “beautiful place”. The installation of benches continues to be a point that most are in favor of, but fear that homeless in the area will sleep on them regularly. One neighbor, Ms. Gartrell, shared ideas on how to solve this problem, which began a thought provoking conversation on how design can mitigate social problems.
While folks meandered in to look at the garden renderings, listen to the awesome music of the East of the River Girls and Boys Steel Band, and munch on all organic yummy snacks and refreshing beverages provided by Yes Organic, the vision of a public space that the community can enjoy became a reality for a couple of hours, providing everyone with a scene of what is to come.
— Katie Wauchope, graduate student Empowerhouse team member / Milano The New School for Management and Urban Policy