Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land

Charrette: 1920 North Uber Street


Tags: charrette, community, durable, excavation, grow, landform, lot, lots, lotsoflots, management, material, neighborhood, Philadelphia, planting, production, PSU, recycled, recycling, repurpose, soil, stormwater, surface, swale, swales, tires, tree, urban, vacant, water

Managing urban stormwater with recycled tire swales.

Charrette: 1920 North Uber Street is a project by a group of graduate students in Pennsylvania State University's undergraduate landscape architecture program. The group participated in The Urban Arboretum, a studio inspired by Matthew Langan's proposal for the Urban Voids competition. The Spring 2010 studio was taught by Tim Baird with assistance from Langan, a graduate of the program. This project was the result of a charrette-a short-term design challenge-early in the semester.

The proposal for Uber Street is a community garden and tree plantation made possible by tire swales collecting and directing water throughout the site. A swale is a plant-filled basin for collecting and naturally cleaning stormwater. Using recycled tires as planters and containers in the swalescape provides structure and durability to the sloping ground, and protects the plants.

Tire-lined water features in the garden include a channel weaving its way across the site, and a somewhat deeper "lake" with channels leading from and to it in all directions.


Urban Arboretum: From Vacancy to Hybrid Landscape. Landscape Architecture 414. The Pennsylvania State University College of Arts and Architecture, Spring 2010.

The Designers