01 Jul A Vision of Light for Our Vacant Lot
One of the signs of long term poverty is vacant lots. Hope owns one of these lots diagonally across from our front door at 11th and Huntingdon streets. Over the past six months Hope worked with neighborhood leaders to explore how the vacant lot might be made into a community asset.
The effort was led by volunteers from Philadelphia’s Community Design Collaborative. For the past 20 years, the Collaborative has demonstrated the importance of design in community revitalization by providing pro bono preliminary design services to nonprofit organizations in greater Philadelphia.
The community task force first met to discuss issues, ideas, and concern with the volunteers and to reach a consensus on priorities for creating an amenity for both the school and the neighborhood. At the second meeting the task force commented on preliminary schemes developed by volunteers from the firms SALT DESIGN STUDIO, GRIST, and ICI. Based on feedback the volunteers completed a conceptual design and implementation plan. A hallmark of the plan is that it be done over several steps, each of which provides time for the community to observe and use the improved space, and then provide input into the next step.
The conceptual design has been titled “Gardens of Illumination”. The first step of the multi-year implementation plan starts there. It states that lighting is the critical and most fundamental element in transforming the vacant lot.