Gardens and Green Space: New Possibilities Within Urban Developments
by Nicolia Mehrling, Brisbane Baylands summer intern
The growing population of the Bay Area creates intense and competing demands on available land. We need more housing, especially affordable housing, better public transportation, and roadways that ease traffic congestion. We also need and love open spaces, including beautiful farms and gardens. Shared open spaces build community, transforming the place you work and sleep to a neighborhood where you live. City planners and developers balance these needs and ask the question: how can we provide a high quality, sustainable place to live, work, and play?
In the Mission Bay community in San Francisco, NOMADgardens answers that question in an innovative solution that allows urban residents to keep long term gardens on previously industrial land. NOMAD is a “roving” community garden that relocates based on the changing landscape of the development. When founder of NOMADgardens Sarah Goodson moved to Mission Bay, she saw that residents needed a “third space” beyond office and housing. She designed a system in which hundreds of container plots fill vacant lots and community members rent out individual containers. If the lot is developed, the containers are simply lifted by crane, moved elsewhere, and the gardeners return.
The 170 acres of open space in the Brisbane Baylands includes not only hiking and biking trails, athletic fields, and parks, but also green spaces in the more urban areas of residential and commercial development. The Roundhouse Green and the Promenade are integrated into urban life and would be ideal for shared community gardens.
NOMADgardens creatively demonstrates how developments can promote closeness to our food, our work, and our homes. As Brisbane evolves, activities like this in shared spaces will build relationships between old and new residents.
Check out these great resources on urban gardening for more information on how cities are innovating new solutions to the tension between housing and food production:
-San Francisco Urban Agriculture Alliance: http://www.sfuaa.org/resources
-Newspiece on urban farming potential: https://nextrends.swissnexsanfrancisco.org/urbanfarming/