kermit was right: it's not easy being green (part I)

Recently, my block and the other two that share our T-shaped alley have been working hard to get our alley gated. For those who aren't familiar with this phenomenon, here's a little history:

The first "community green" in Baltimore was Chandler's Yard, in Federal Hill. In 1976, Bill Streuver (yup, of Streuver Bros. ) joined forced with residents surrounding a redevelopment block he purchased to gate and green the space behind the properties. Replacing concrete and crumbling walls, trees and pavers created a communal space for neighbors to socialize. It also made Streuver's development a whole lot more marketable...

Jump ahead several decades, and ASHOKA selected Baltimore as one of several cities to pilot the Community Greens initiative. After four years of hard work, Community Greens succeeded in getting Mayor Sheila Dixon to sign the "Gating and Greening Alleys Ordinance" in 2007. This ordinance gives citizens the legal right to create new commons and green spaces in their alleys, thus promoting public health, safety and well-fare.

However, before the greening comes the gating. And before the gating comes a lot of hard work to get 80% of homeowners to sign a two page consent form for the Department of Public Works.

While at first blush it seems hard to imagine anyone wouldn't want to transform a rat-infested, drug-ridden and garbage-polluted stretch of concrete into a clean, safe, attractive social space, it is a little more complicated than that. You see, reality and rationality have to compete with two very strong forces: inertia and trepidation.

More on how things are going on MY block next time...

love k


Ken said...

I think it would look great! But, it would take a lot of hard work. I look forward to reading about your progress! GOOD LUCK!!!!!


jess said...

go alley gating!

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