A Northeast Ohio landscape design team makes the case that a number of urban ills, ranging from crime to food deserts, can be addressed by adding green space to gray and rusting city centers. ideastream's David C. Barnett has more on an effort to transform an urban dead zone in the heart of Akron.
Samuel Salsbury and his partner Sabrena Schweyer have a national reputation for their work promoting park spaces and community gardens. They presented some of their ideas, last night, at a meeting sponsored by the University Park Alliance --- a group that is trying to redevelop a fifty block district around the University of Akron campus. Salsbury says something as simple as a small park created from an abandoned lot can help revitalize a neighborhood that some see as dangerous.
SALSBURY: Everything that's done has to be creating activity to create community and bring people together. Start having concerts there regularly, start to have activity there. All of the sudden, more things start going on there, and then before you know it, there's a change in the environment and it's no longer a place that people are afraid to go to.
Salsbury says urban agriculture efforts in Cleveland are proving the viability of locally grown produce, and with money being a critical concern for any city, Salsbury suggests that community gardens are an easy and productive way to reclaim vacant land in Akron.
SALSBURY: I think the city needs to start with a few projects that are really focusing on that, and not giant, million-dollar, five-million-dollar projects, and be able to see and measure those successes.
Salsbury and Schweyer spoke to about 100 people as part of a lecture series called Urban Innovators. The University Park Alliance is sponsoring another talk on creating value from vacant city land, next month.