Karen Tauches & Cooper Sanchez
LETTER TO PASSERS-BY 5-14-2010
From the exurbs to intown, vacant lots are ubiquitous. They emerge where houses have been removed, or developments halted by economic “downturn.” Kept under control by mowers, but without the fanfare of official landscaping, many go unnoticed or unappreciated by residents. They fill up with signage and junk. Why don’t residents picnic and recreate in these empty lots? Why do we let them stand by the
side of the roadways like desperate orphans?
When left unkept, these empty lots begin to show their character, growing tall, naturally filling up with flowers, grasses, small animals. They are most magnificent when the wind blows. In this case they become pastoral respites--windows into what the land used to be like before the city came. These kind of spaces are ones to learn from and cultivate.
It would be impractical to dream that all these temporary green spaces could ever be gardened. . .but initiating a meadow is a relatively low maintenance project. It makes good use of available urban green space and challenges notions of private property.
Next to my house in Cabbagetown is one such empty lot. With the permission of Daniel Kane (property owner), I've collaborated with gardener and artist Cooper Sanchez to create a self-sustaining meadow here beginning this summer. By spring of 2011, the meadow will be in full tilt.
The water for this project is reused. There is no hose or sprinkler system. I collect between 5 and 10 gallons from my airconditioner daily in addition to bath water.