In our trilogy of parkway rain gardens, I had one more cell to go, which is also the largest cell. Snow was looming on the horizon and I was hoping to finish the weaving of the fence panels before I would freeze my fingers off.
Well, I got done just in time, but I had to wait all winter before I could fully vegetate the rain garden cell. This was a test of my patience.
Building the parkway knee fence and rain garden cells took me down memory lane – to our sustainable pilot project, One Drop at a Time, in Elmhurst, Ill. The rain gardens, green roof, rain barrels, and porous pavement at this project caught quite a little bit of attention.
The running joke was that whenever I stepped into the front yard of the Elmhurst project I got no work done because of the questions from, and conversations with, passers-by. Thirty minutes of uninterrupted work was unheard of.
Fast forward to our Chicago project: As I mentioned in the last blog post, I began to enjoy plenty of interaction with passers-by while working on the parkway fence. By my observation, the volume of conversations, the level of curiosity, and number of compliments seemed no different than what I had experienced in Elmhurst.
Yet these two communities, North Lawndale and Elmhurst, have completely different demographics and appear to be at opposite ends in the income spectrum.
For complete data set on North Lawndale, see: http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/documents/10180/126764/North+Lawndale.pdf For complete data set on Elmhurst, see: http://www.cmap.illinois.gov/documents/10180/102881/Elmhurst.pdf
This brings me full circle and back to the quote by the late Charles Leeks, former director of the North Lawndale NHS office.
“People who live in poor communities […] are entitled to good design. I’d love to see good buildings, an aesthetically engaging place. … [A] smart, clever, interesting place to live—and one that looks good.”
In this highly segregated environment, whether it is racial or income related, it is easy to overlook that some things are universal. We all share a thirst for an expression of care in our landscape combined with physical expressions that instill beauty, and a landscape that stimulates.
Just because North Lawndale doesn’t have the resources for attractive landscapes doesn’t mean that they would not be appreciated.
- Talking while weaving
- Not quite a basket case
- Rigging the rebar
- Closing it up
- Lipstick on a pig
- Parkway rain garden excavation
- Parkway rain garden planning
- Parkway path
- Fence rails
- Fussing over fence details
- Pounding parkway pavers
- Getting my posts in a row
- Ploughing for posts and pavers
- Entitled to good design?