6% Place

10 January 2012

cityLAB recently received an email from a long-time Pittsburgher who now lives in Harare, Zimbabwe. He writes:

Dear Garfield Neighbors,

Please find my contribution to your community creating its future: Invest. Brand. Plan.

Good luck with the process!

Mike Staresinic
Harare, Zimbabwe
Pittsburgh from 2012

Garland Clubs. Recovery takes time. Start small start now: combine joined parcels for gardens, greenways, community vegetable gardens and the like, as a viable investment strategy to attract neighborhood investment clubs. For the price of acquisition, tax, fencing, and some weed whacking, each patch of green neighborhood pulls the rest up. Over time, the surroundings come up due to these Garlands. As new housing picks up, it has green neighbors. Those who hold the green get their investment back as a neighborhood develops around them (eventually selling or developing their land), while residents walk the garlands  in an upcoming, natural, strengthening neighborhood. I am prepared to organize the first Garland Club.

Garland Brand. Garfield needs a new brand. Named for an inconsequential President who nobody remembers (quiz: ask meeting participants for that president’s first name), please play with options: 25% Garland. Gardens. 20% vacant can be readily made into a wonderful number when it = 25% FREE, 25% SPACE TO BREATHE, 25% NATURAL 25%. Natural material is the neighborhood’s natural strength. Pump it up to 25% Garlanded Garfield.

Holistic, Full-Cycle Planning. Pittsburgh should not be proud of its speed of demolition, rather speed of redevelopment. Figuring out the full cycle before buildings unfortunately go down transforms demolition from a loser into a winner.

Thanks for contributing your ideas, Mike!

view of Harare by Flickr user Simon Kelly

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