Snow Boundries

Snow Ways

Snow Ways

How does the snow change what you see? What is visible, now? What is invisible now? How do you decide where to stop shoveling? How do you know who can shovel? What does a shoveling style show?

 

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Reality and Imagination at Palmer Street Lot

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A great deal of imagination is still needed for the Palmer Street lot as it remains in a legal tangle. Last fall, we gathered over 90 suggestions of what residents hope the Palmer Lot will become in the future. It is still uncertain since its owner is still nowhere to be found, but retains the right to his property since it is current on all taxes, thanks to the mortgage company. Now, it stands, still colorful, with “community” as its tagline, but a bit of a relic before its time. As noted above: imagination is sorely needed! (and perhaps some legal knowledge wouldn’t hurt!)

Growing Community at Woolson Street Lot

w02 Collective social consciousness of waste, sustainable resources, economics, and pollution have influenced stakeholders to take a broader view of many design professions, especially architecture, which uses the greatest amount of resources of human enterprises. Indeed,  LEED (the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) helps establish standards of responsible resource making and gathering at the onset of design, while the temporal scope of architecture has also expanded beyond the finished building; design professionals need to take responsibility for the future maintenance and, even, potential disposal of the structure. Maintenance of a private residence requires the ultimate initiative of the owner; for public projects, the community is tasked with ongoing stewardship. Uncared for parks demonstrate that municipal trash pick-up isn’t enough. So, in addition to the materials, and the foresight, we need to also design for engagement; community building is a social and spatial problem, and creative design can aid the rigorous community organization of so many neighborhood leaders, activists, and planners.

w03SPSP was happy to be part of such an effort of Saturday, May 3rd in Mattapan in collaboration with the Community Design Resource Center (CDRC),  Boston Natural Areas Network (BNAN), the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition, and neighbors. We were also delighted to re-use four bright orange frames initially created for another project.

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In tandem with the “Boston Shines” city-wide clean-up effort, we erected creative signage on the lot to communicate the message that the planned community garden needs more gardeners. Design for social engagement is a compelling design challenge; the project is often a temporary installation, with no budget, infused with contextual issues and histories, inherently political, that seeks to reach a diverse number of people in circumstances that often hinder civic participation. On the Woolson Street lot, while volunteers cleaned up trash and weeded around daffodils, we posted signs that signal the beginning of the transformation of a lot that has a history of tragedy, and a desired future of community, safety, commemoration, and beautiful gardens!

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The finished signs, including an orange board where all participants signed their names.

If you would like to support the community gardens proposed at the Woolson Street Lot – support the project at Make Architecture Happen! 

ReImagine A Lot! Week 4

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This Friday marks four weeks of building at the Palmer Street Lot – same time, same place, every week. Our actions slowly become a Friday afternoon habit as the physical form of the community wall takes shape. Many have helped out, either with the support of materials or with the support of their time and hands: building, painting, digging. This help has come from all ages, often unsolicited from people as they walk by the project, curious as to what it will be, with a desire to help create. Lessons and stories abound. One neighborhood girl told me of how she stopped a couple young boys from playing target practice with the wall, since after all, she helped paint it. My heart fluttered at this evidence of her taking ownership of the project. I am amazed that people want to help without even fully realizing what the “final product” will be; especially enthusiastic are the small children who have unbounded desire and energy to help create something tangible. I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_2

While the final product will prompt residents to “imagine what this lot could be” in the future, this work has already transformed what the empty lot currently is. During the summer, I lamented the lot’s wasted state, particularly since it is located across from the much used Mary Jane Lee Park. The lot lay useless, and in stark contrast to the park’s bustling activity. Now, it is no longer fallow ground, the site of a demolition, and bits of trash. The use value is exponential, and for now, the lot operates at full potential. I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_3
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Week 4 at the Palmer Street Lot, saw much progress: the NSCDC Youth Build team, nine strong, helped out: they applied the orange chalkboard paint on the front 48 foot wall, they began making the stencils to prompt community participation, and they installed the back panels that will soon be transformed into a community mural. Neighborhood children helped paint the tree trunk chairs, and were inspired by Jackson Pollack in painting the future community bulletin board. This week, we also hosted the first event at the lot: The Point Neighborhood Association meeting (more on that later); for now, scroll down and see some of the photos as the Point ReImagines what this Lot can be: I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_5 I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_6 I Imagine info poster_Week 04_Page_7