Thursday, May 16, 2013

5 Stories of Re-purposed Public Space

All week I've been looking for glimpses of our future hope that all things will be made new.  Until the new heaven and new earth, we walk around re-imagining, re-making, restoring, refreshing, renewing, reconciling, reclaiming and redeeming.

Sharing today 5 of my favorite examples of innovative and creative re-use of public space.

-- 1 --

before: 124,500 square feet of warehouse space [source]
after: McAllen Public Library, TX [source]

"McAllen is near the southernmost tip of Texas, on the Mexico border. "In a city like McAllen, with cartel violence across the river (less than 10 miles away from the library), I think it's amazing that the city is devoting resources to a) not only saving a large and conspicuous piece of property from decline and vandalism, but b) diverting those resources into youth and the public trust," Ramirez writes." [Los Angeles Times]

-- 2 -- 

New Yorkers can float over busy streets in an innovative park.

before: 1.45 mile long inoperative elevated rail in NYC's meat packing district [source]

after: NYC High Line [source]
"Almost a decade after the Giuliani administration tried to tear the High Line down, it has been turned into one of the most innovative and inviting public spaces in New York City and perhaps the entire country. The black steel columns that once supported abandoned train tracks now hold up an elevated park—part promenade, part town square, part botanical garden." [National Geographic]
Learn more about New York's High Line, view beautiful gallery of images at The High 

-- 3 -- 

before: Bethlehem Steelstacks -- i
n 1995, after a nearly 120-year history of steel production on the site, the plant closed its doors[source]
after: SteelStacks Park, Bethlehem, PA [source]

"SteelStacks Park is a ten-acre campus dedicated to arts, culture, family events, community celebrations, education and fun. The campus is in the shadow of the blast furnaces of the former Bethlehem Steel plant." []
before: aerial view of  30,000 square feet atop Mercer parking garage in Seattle [source]

after:  Designed and built in seven months on a $150,000 budget, the community-run roof garden was created by designer Nicole Kistler, landscape architect Eric Higbee, the community of Queen Anne/Uptown and the P-Patch Program of Seattle. [source]

-- 5 --
I Wish This Was A [you fill in the blank]

"As an experiment, Candy [Chang] created fill-in-the-blank stickers that say “I wish this was ____.” She placed boxes of free stickers in businesses around the city and posted grids of blank stickers and a permanent marker on vacant storefronts, so anyone walking by could fill one out. The stickers are vinyl and they can be easily removed without damaging property. Responses ranged from the functional to the poetic: I wish this was… a butcher shop, a community garden, a bike rack, an affordable farmer’s market, a taco stand, a place to sit and talk, Brad Pitt’s house, full of nymphomaniacs with PhDs, a source of tasty healthy food I could afford, my art gallery, your dream, Heaven. It’s a fun, low-barrier tool to provide civic input onsite, and the responses reflect the hopes, dreams, and colorful imaginations of different neighborhoods." [Candy]

Also, each week during Eastertide I'm collecting your photos of practicing resurrection, taking up something new to celebrate our risen Christ who makes all things new.  Share your photo with a caption in 36 words or less at the facebook page for This Sacramental Life.  (See our first week here.)

  Read here for details on how to enter a giveaway for the Just Paint print and theMake print from PJeanArtMachine!

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