The brilliant and inspiring Depave project
Depave co-founders Kasandra Griffin and Arif Khan are two people after my own heart. They are working in urban environments to rip up and remove unnecessary concrete and asphalt.
Impermeable surfaces are great for highways but when they are unused or unnecessary they contribute to stormwater runoff and pollution, reduce the amount of plant life and degrade our water quality. And there are SO many paved areas in urban environments! Depave responds saying this:
The solution is clear. The removal of impervious pavements will reduce stormwater pollution and increase the amount of land available for habitat restoration, urban farming, trees, native vegetation, and beauty, thus providing us with greater connections to the natural world.
In June, 2008 they dug into their first public project with the help of over 100 volunteers and ripped up 3,000 square feet of asphalt in Portland, OR. They replaced the former parking lot with a food garden and community gathering space — how cool is that? The space (Fargo Gardens project) is near a cafe so Portland residents and visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee while strolling through the gardens.
Check out this video, linked here, to see more about the project. And yes, they even recycled the asphalt!
I think this is a great project and a great idea to try to create more communal space in urban environments. It was a gorgeous weekend here in Boston and as I walked around enjoying the parks and neighborhoods, I realized that it’s these types of spaces that bring people together.
photo via flickr hiserhott