Grounds for Change: Activating Vacant Land

Embracing Fallowdelphia

Idea

Tags: agriculture, collective, community, corridors, CSA, customize, grow, individual, kit, land, landbank, landtrust, library, lots, lotsoflots, markets, materials, mobile, network, philadelphia, planning, repurpose, tools, transit, transportation, urban

Customizable ideas for direct action

Embracing Fallowdelphia proposes new operations at two distinct scales across the city. The first is a neighborhood land trust, in which individual ownership and collective stewardship allow neighborhoods to decide, together, upon the best solutions for their vacant lots. Establishing a land trust would provide a useful counterpoint--or antidote--to the top-down land use planning traditional in Philadelphia. The second part of the Fallowdelphia plan is a selection of Autonomous Tools, readymade solutions that neighborhoods and individuals can adopt for and adapt to their particular vacancy situations. Autonomous Tools act for the most part as nodes, either supplement existing networks--such as bus routes and other public transportation--or creating new networks based upon moving goods and information. Examples of the latter type of program include centers for repurposing building materials; mobile libraries; and new locations for farmers' markets and community supported agriculture (CSA). The strength of this proposal lies in the new networks it envisions, and how those networks might change the character of neighborhoods over time. Each of the proposed solutions has been well-documented and practiced elsewhere; Embracing Fallowdelphia presents them as a customizable set of ideas to be combined and edited as appropriate.