Community and the Garden City Movement
By Daryn Juhl
Aloha! My name is Daryn and I am currently volunteering in The Lihue Community garden here on Kauai. (please go here for more information: http://www.idealist.org/view/nonprofit/k9BHJScwKGBD/) I have been working with many people to grow and cultivate fresh, organic produce to feed and bring together the community. It has been a wonderful experience and I will continue volunteer as much as I can. This volunteer work had lead me down many avenues, including stumbling upon the garden-city movement. A reformation of urban-planning that puts gardens and communities at the center of attention. To be in balance and harmony with nature is so important, not only for our own health and well being for the community as a whole.
The Research Question:
Question: How can we shape the future of our communities with gardens and sustainable living as its center focus?
My deep passion for the health of myself and the health of others has lead me to a wonderful topic this term. I am volunteering at a community garden, and constantly learning how it affects the community as a whole. With all of the poisons and genetically modified food we have today, it is important to switch to locally grown, organic produce. Unbeknownst to me, this garden brought many people together, and helped even more with hunger. I didn’t grasp the the thought of how many people this garden fed until a harvest one week. When we then transferred the food to boxes and handed them out to low income families.
Not only does this garden help many, but it brings a sense of community to our town. This feeling of community has since been lost with the invention of new technologies. We have built walls around ourselves to keep others out, instead of let others in and work together. We need to get back to our roots. We need to somehow live in balance sustainably with nature and science. While volunteering in the garden, I often pondered this. What if a town worked together like clockwork, for the betterment of all? What if we were centered around gardens and sustainable living? What if he cared about our neighbors and shared, instead of being greedy? How does this get accomplished?
I then stumbled on this awesome book about the garden-city movement. The very first I have heard of it. “Visionaries and Planners: The garden city movement and the modern community” by Stanley Buder. What is a garden city? Well, I simply stumbled upon the answer to all of my questions on how to expand this garden, help more people and get the good sense of community back. The Garden City movement is the answer.
(Below is two pictures from Buder’s book, showing an urban design of a garden-city, Its really magnificent. You can see he has distinctly mapped out the town. In the center the garden, moving outwards, small businesses, libraries and theatres. Around that, a park, streets and houses, surrounded by agriculture and farms.)
This book has been my eye opener to the whole subject of garden city planning. He includes towns and maps, ideas and wonderful visuals. He also explains how this idea of community has been lost, and it no longer a part of our society today. This book does a really great job of telling the history of community, the history of gardens and how a garden city movement benefits the whole.
A great, easy explanation of garden cities. It gives the basic overview for anybody who know little to nothing about garden cities and greenbelt cities.
This a great website, with its own ‘sustainability’ tab dedicated to articles on the subject. They even include blogs and up to date stories. I have done a lot of my research through this and the above website, sifting through many articles learning about different forms of community, gardening, and the health of today’s citizens. http://www.enn.com/ecosystems/article/45878 Here is a good, yet short article on this website about how gardening can improve your personal health, and the health of community.
To Governor Neil Abercrombie,
I am writing you as a community member and volunteer on this wonderful island of Kauai. We are lucky to be involved in a culture that is so nature-centric. The first people on these islands created sustainable communities, centered upon agriculture and sustainable living. The ‘aina (islands) deserve to be treated with the utmost respect. The people deserve to be a part of a thriving community, where everyone has a purpose and feels a part of a community. We need to get back to our roots. This is why I would like to discuss the idea of future urban planning throughout all of the islands. I am proposing that all future planning be centered around a new and improved garden-city movement. Where our towns are in balance with nature, business, and agriculture. Where every person has the opportunity to thrive. It is how the ancients did it, and I think we need to revert back to this type of planning. Imagine a city or town where the people live harmoniously with nature.
In any future urban remodeling or expanding is being planned, lets try to to keep it ecologically centered. The garden city movement was first proposed 1898 by Ebenezer Howard in the United Kingdom. “The pollution and overcrowding that resulted from the industrial revolution generated Howard’s interest in finding solutions to modern social ills. Howard wanted to fit a fully functioning community into a compact, self-sustaining and easily replicable design. The pattern was focused on a central hub of industrial and commercial activity with branches stemming from the center. This organic type of growth was to house no more than 30,000 people in approximately 6,000 acres. A main transportation route connected each branch. Stops were located in the center of activity, connecting each area.” http://geography.about.com/od/urbaneconomicgeography/a/gardencities.htm
There are many, many example of already functioning garden-cities. The concept of a garden city is to build the town around a community garden. In the center is the garden, moving outwards you have industrial, and suburban areas. Though they are all balanced! Wouldn’t this be a magnificent change? Kauai had a few community garden that are already helping feed the local people. If we can bring together the community and feed them at the same time, I believe that is a wonderful thing. It will take time and effort, but change and reform is important. We would be honoring the ancestors of this land, and we would be living in balance with nature. Everything the hawaiians stood for. Lets give back to the land and be more eco- minded!
In a popular Hawaiian book, “From the mountains to the Sea” we are shown how the ancients used the land properly and basically formed their own garden city\ies, nature centric. For more information on garden cities, please refer to the above book and the book “Visionaries and Planners: The Garden City Movement and the modern community”.
Authors Note: The most beneficial information to me was centered around the garden city movement. After discovering the above book as one of my sources, I was in deep into this concept. Why hasn’t anyone thought of this before? I realized they had, but industrialization took over, and the balance with nature was lost. It really sparked my interest to get back to this concept. Reading about it, and collecting the information j\only made me want to learn more about the subject. I even learned that there are tons of already functioning garden cities in the United States. such as; Buckingham, Virginia, Greendale, Wisconsin, Greenbelt, Maryland, Greenhills, Ohio and many more. This idea of urban planning is so smart, I think the concept needs to be utilized again and used to reform our out of balance, industrialized cities.
Tag Words: Community, Garden, Garden-City Movement, Urban Planning