Friday, May 1, 2009

Cincinnati: Guerrilla gardening anyone?

I was reading the 961 Olive Blog this morning and they were lamenting the fact that a vacant lot near them, overgrown and not used was on the market at a ridiculously high price and would probably languish for years.

Of course I have always said Cincinnati needs an ordinance requiring the owner of any vacant lot to maintain a street facing "landscape strip at least 10 feet deep and that the rear of a vacant lot should be required to be fenced to stop illegal dumping. Seems to me if the city has a Vacant Building Maintenance License then making someone maintain a vacant lot isn't a stretch.

And that got me to thinking about the "Guerrilla gardening" movement that has spread to many Urban cities. For those of you not familiar with the concept:

Every major city has city "right of ways', you know you see them everywhere , those spits of dirt next to the road that cities are supposed to maintain but usually get maybe mowed once a year if even then? Or those long dead "tree beds" that line many city streets, where the trees didn't make it and have been empty for years.
Well Guerrilla Gardeners just take it on themselves to plant those areas. Usually with native or low maintenance plants. they just do it. They don't ask for permission, go through the endless red tape of talking to half a dozen city agencies to "maybe' get permission they just round up some people and go do it.

Illegal? Well, technically yes. Most cities however tend to just look the other way. Many American Cities like NewYork, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston have guerrilla garden groups. It has even spread to smaller cities that frankly don't have any budget for planting right of ways at all. There are dozens of site on Guerrilla gardening and its becoming a global movement as people become more concerned about the environment.
It makes me wonder if people say In OTR, areas of Price Hill, West End and other areas with vacant spaces have thought of "banding together' and say "well lets meet at such and such intersection" on a Sunday afternoon and just plant the darn thing? I mean really what would the city do? Arrest everyone for planting flowers and doing something the city doesn't do?
Just a crazy thought... I suppose?


Ross said...

My neighbors and I have been doing this for several years in Mt. Auburn in the areas of Dorchester, Auburn, Sycamore and Walker streets. We clear underbrush to improve the visibility of lots from the main roads and plant low-maintenance flowers donated from the yards of friends and co-workers. We have seen a dramatic decrease in the number of people pulling into our dead-end streets to dump, engage in prostitution, and use drugs.

I know there are people doing similar things in OTR and Northside.

Paul Wilham said...

Our house sits on a corner ona doublelot and we have dead end street. In fact a few in our areaa . Some of my neighbors did the right of way and did a great job befire we bought our house. I am in the process of doing the "green space' by our sidewalk in front of our home. We have a few areas I think we as the neighborhood are going to do this summer. The city is NEVER going to maintain these areas anyway!

VisuaLingual said...

You can use our seed bombs as part of your guerrilla gardening campaign!