Monday, February 22, 2010

Take Back the Streets 2

A follow up to the story from Korea and the daylighted stream that was realized upon the removal of a highway, this ephemeral project from San Francisco (via Streetsblog SF) takes the same idea of remnant roadway and thinks of it in terms of gardening: "A few weeks ago in San Francisco, a number of urban farmers opened a gate in a chain-link fence at Laguna Street, between Oak and Fell Streets, and entered an overgrown lot that has been unused for nearly two decades. The farmers brought with them steaming piles of mulch, which they cast over the edge of the ramps formerly used by cars to enter and exit the elevated Central Freeway spur above Octavia Street, arranging the soil in rows for planting vegetables and filler crops."


:: image via Streetsblog SF

"The new Hayes Valley Farm (HVF) inverts the paradigm and reclaims the space for city dwellers, if only temporarily. "We call it 'freeway to food forest,'" explained Chris Burley, Project Director for HVF and former organizer of My Farm. Burley was joined by nearly fifty volunteers at a HVF work party Sunday. "We're trying to create a successful, sustainable urban farm in the heart of San Francisco."




:: images via Streetsblog SF

The model is definitely transferable to a range of locales (both figuratively and literally). The temporary nature of the site makes it prudent to keep the process efficient, but that doesn't mean the site cannot become productive for a short period of time, then transform to a different use (the city-owned parcel will be developed to provide market-rate and affordable housing). See a Google Earth image of the site showing the large un-utilized space:



The ephemeral nature doesn't mean the plants won't have a shortened lifespan, but may travel to a different locale after the project is complete. More from Streetsblog SF: "Because the project is temporary, Burley said they are not planning to rip up the existing asphalt, which would cost thousands of dollars. Rather, the farmers will plant up to 150 fruit trees in pots that can be moved to other gardens or planted in back yards. Burley also said that in honor of the old Highway 101, they will be planting 101 beneficial plants among the fruit trees to help with pest control."

1 comment:

  1. Seems like such a great idea... The ephemerity of the project is the most interesting subject: transforming a roadway in a garden, and then transform the garden in something else...
    By the way, the South Korea case is listed by urbanist Jaime Lerner in the book Acupuntura Urbana (Urban Acupuncture) like an example of how the water can be a great resource of urban vitaly... Maybe the San Francisco project will prove that sometimes a great and qualified public space is more important that any highway.

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