Thursday, July 8, 2010

Urban farming in Pittsburgh; Grow Pittsburgh; Urban farming as a motivator for urban relocation/consolidation.

From today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette comes a story that might predict the future of urban planning across the country:
The urban farm -- a novel, even whimsical, idea a few years ago in Pittsburgh -- is now a movement so fully fledged that a neighborhood without one seems almost an anomaly.

The movement has gone beyond mere small backyard gardens:
Grow Pittsburgh's sites include the Larimer Farm and Gardens, a quarter acre at Larimer Avenue and Mayflower Street; Lawrenceville Gardens at Allegheny Cemetery, about 150 square feet; and a garden the size of four city lots on Lincoln Avenue in Lemington called Higher Ground Community Garden.

The above list is in addition to a 3/4 acre lot in Braddock and others throughout Pittsburgh. What makes this trend significant is the nationwide nature of the movement and the near-utopian vision of its proponents (as I noted in March):
Near downtown, fruit trees and vegetable farms would replace neighborhoods that are an eerie landscape of empty buildings and vacant lots. Suburban commuters heading into the city center might pass through what looks like the countryside to get there. Surviving neighborhoods in the birthplace of the auto industry would become pockets in expanses of green.
(citing the Washington Times discussing Detroit)

The Post-Gazette article cites examples in other major cities.

The urban farming movement is rapidly taking shape as the motivator behind the urban relocation/consolidation movement nationwide. If urban farming takes root in conjunction with municipal efforts to destroy rundown neighborhoods and relocate (and consolidate) residents, the movement will be one of many factors at the center of legal battles over eminent domain, title and environmental issues. Food crops will not be the only things growing out of the ground in urban areas.

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