My professor Jeremy Merrill introduced a class that focused on Tactical Urbanism. The purpose of this class was for us to transform a space that screamed urbanism and hardscape into a space that was softened by garden beds. We wanted to see how people would react to this new concept and to see if it truly was possible to bring a garden into an urbanized space.
We focused on an area that is settled within the Architecture buildings. The space was an existing parking area, but it is now closed off to promote walkability and provide safety. The students in the Tactical Urbanism class designed a small garden that could potentially be placed in the concrete empty area. The idea came true on the day of the Howdy Farm Spring Plant Sale, April 1st. We purchased tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, Mexican mint marigold, pepper plants, and many more from the plant sale. We began with building raised beds that would be easily moveable.
In the beginning, I was skeptical on how long this plants were going to survive in an area that was constantly being exposed to high temperatures and radiating heat. Not only did the heat worry me, but the amount of depth provided for the beds worried me as well; it is about 4" deep. After three weeks of being exposed to heat and having limited space, the plants are doing great. A few are lagging due to competition in nutrients because of the closeness between each plant. Surprisingly everything looks healthy and strong, but the plants will need to be planted to a different location that has thicker soil depth and much more space between each plant. I like the idea behind this garden, but it won't hold up for a longer period of time if the issues above are not resolved.
This small garden concept has evolved as the weeks go by. Since then we have implemented seating and interactive activities like painting and white erase board for thoughts and ideas. The next step in this project is to bring awareness of this garden into the community. We want to transform the area into a Night Farmers Market for one day. Our idea is to bring food trucks, Howdy Farm’s produce, Horticulture Club plants, and other similar organizations and local farms.
We are promoting the awareness of this idea, so the Dean of the College of Architecture can allow us to keep this garden concept going even after the semester ends. If the idea is not accepted, we will have to disassemble everything and relocate the plants to a different location.