X Christine Pan
Our neighborhood, Santa Maria la Ribera is extremely lush. The literal and cultural center of the neighborhood is a park, and the streets are lined with trees and planters. At the same time, it’s a primarily residential neighborhood, a bustling scene of daily life. People here value green things, adding plants to public space, adapting their own spaces for plants, or even starting to build for plants. My proposal begins to address commoning through gardening, and the collectivization of growing.
Gardening creates a network of residents, and promotes community connections that extend private acts of growing into the public space. In the Aztec example of chinampas, an agricultural system that’s based on specialization, each island grows a different crop and is managed by a different family, but belongs to a larger system of food production; a “stone soup” where individual contributions to a larger whole make a better soup for everyone. Individual neighbors can choose their level of production or participation, and everyone comes together to build structures or infrastructure.
The collection of gardens is open to everyone in the neighborhood as it begins to take over available circulation and expand across a shared roofscape. Different forms of labor might also be necessary - individual residents will have to maintain their own garden spaces, but other residents who don’t garden might volunteer to help in other ways or maintain public garden spaces, and residents might chip in to hire a full time worker to oversee the process or be an administrator.
The idea is not to have an urban farm, but to grow smaller scale things like culinary herbs, or simple vegetables like beans and peppers and tomatoes and onions - more as a way to connect to community through the very act of growing and eating than as a way of food production. This community network is expanded so the residents within the neighborhood can themselves identify infrastructural needs and begin to build what they need, with different residents contributing what they can in terms of material or labor or expertise. The needs of garden spaces - light, space, soil, temperature, water, pollination - dictate the built forms, and are adapted based on individual or community needs.