Growing Chicago’s Community Gardens
2013-2014 PARTNER: NEIGHBORSPACE
ARCHEWORKS collaborated on a design initiative with NeighborSpace, a non-profit land trust providing long-term protection for more than 90 volunteer-run vegetable, flower and prairie gardens across the city. Focused on cultivating a strong network of community gardens in Chicago neighborhoods, the design team developed strategies to raise awareness of NeighborSpace and its garden network, promote inter-garden knowledge sharing and communication, and foster connectivity among individual gardens and the surrounding community.
Informed by interviews and discussions with garden managers, the team created a multimedia archive of individual garden narratives and best practices for use by NeighborSpace and its emerging and established gardens. Gardeners also expressed a desire for increased learning opportunities, improved access to gardening tools and supplies, and opportunities to connect with other gardens in the community. In response, the team designed a modular bike cart that can serve as a mobile educational resource center, a tool-lending library, and an anchor for community gatherings. The modular bike cart is also part of a public awareness campaign, serving as on site promotion for NeighborSpace at summer festivals and farmers markets. In addition, the team developed proposals for communication tools and educational programs that connect gardeners and invite community participation.