community gardens, city planning

Loren Davidson loren at
Fri Aug 16 18:24:15 EDT 1996

At 03:58 PM 8/16/96 EDT, jack rowe wrote:
>Re: the request for ideas concerning city planning for community gardens
from E.
>J. Gelsi of  Australia [s100962 at], repeated below for those on
>the NCSU pc mailing list...
>	The average suburban block is two rows of houses back-to-back, with yards
>backing onto city-easement alleyways in between. What a nice, park-like
>atmosphere our 'burbs would have if each of these alleyways were [perhaps
>widened just a bit] and then developed into parkways and/or gardens, complete
>with bicycle paths, swales and community fruit trees, basketball courts, swards
>and thickets (birds love thickets), wildflower meadows, etc. 

Actually, many suburban blocks -- at least here in California -- don't have
alleys.  This makes it potentially easier, because all you have to do is
remove the back fences from between the houses.

There are a couple of communities -- N St. in Davis, CA and OnGoing Concerns
in Portland, OR come to mind, and I know there are others -- which started
just this way, people in adjacent houses taking out the fences in between.
N St. has grown to 13 houses in this way.  They have some huge gardens, and
even a chicken coop, places for children to play, etc.

If you're expanding on an existing alleyway, you'll probably have to come up
with other places for people to put their cars, at least until we get the
transit and land use issues better resolved.  A possible solution would be
to cluster parking at either end of the block, one space per house, and
allow street parking for the rest.  The added benefits to this are more
exercise and greater interaction for the neighbors, and they can then
reclaim their garages for other uses, either as shops/storage, or "granny
flat" housing units, or taking them down & replacing them with greenhouses
or gardens.

Just some additional thoughts on the subject.

Loren Davidson
loren at
The First Amendment went too far.  It should have said, "Congress shall 
make no law".

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