Tag Archives: Featured

Family Gathering

A Chicago garden calls a Black community pushed to the margins back together again.

By Zach Mortice

MKSK Community Garden Design
MKSK’s design for the community garden extends a Mauricio Ramirez mural onto the ground plane. Image courtesy MKSK.

Since 2009, a vacant lot turned community garden on the 4600 block of Winthrop Avenue in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood has commemorated the Winthrop Avenue Family, the descendants of a group of Black families who for much of the 20th century were confined to this one block of the predominantly white neighborhood. “Everybody who lived on the block [was] not necessarily blood-related, but we were so close we felt like we were, and still do,” says Emilie Lockridge, whose mother was born there in 1925.

Continue reading Family Gathering

Book Review: The Mass-Produced Forest

A review of Plant Life: The Entangled Politics of Afforestation by Rosetta S. Elkin.

By Jennifer Wolch

Plant Life Book Cover

Tree planting campaigns are widely seen as a nature-based solution to a variety of environmental challenges. Trees can absorb carbon emissions, halt desertification, protect biodiversity, cool urban heat islands, and redress environmental injustice.

Continue reading Book Review: The Mass-Produced Forest

Game Changer

Shorter, wilder courses and ample room for habitat are just some of the transformations coming to golf.

By Lisa Owens Viani

San Geronimo Golf Course
Ephemeral drainages will be restored in Larsen Meadow, the former back nine of San Geronimo Golf Course. Photo by Erica Williams, courtesy Trust for Public Land.

One outcome of the last housing boom was a glut of golf courses built to market new suburban developments. As courses have closed or sat vacant, planners and communities have debated their next best use.

Continue reading Game Changer

A Deep Dive Into the Archive

Albert Kahn Associates mines original drawings for the restoration of the historic Ford House.

By Jeff Link

1929 plan the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House
The design team consulted Jens Jensen’s original drawings for the restoration, including this 1929 plan for the pool and lagoon. FOE31 Jens Jensen Drawings and Papers, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan.

The restoration of the 87-acre grounds of the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, may be among the most historically faithful re-creations of the work of Jens Jensen and Albert Kahn to date. Pieced together from Jensen’s original drawings, detailed construction logs, archival photographs, and digitized film reels, the restored landscape just outside Detroit features a 185,000-gallon clamshell-shaped pool, a lagoon, a meadow, and a wagon-wheel-shaped rose garden. 

Continue reading A Deep Dive Into the Archive

Jacksonville Steps Ahead

Florida’s Emerald Trail strides toward a more walkable future.

By Margaret Shakespeare

An open trail within a park
The trail will create connections to the water and offer opportunities for nature-based play. SCAPE, courtesy Groundwork Jacksonville

McCoys Creek Boulevard in Jacksonville, Florida, is a major thoroughfare that increasingly is closed to traffic because of flooding, even after a routine afternoon shower. It’s one of many areas in the city that, due to aging infrastructure like undersized pipes and inadequate drainage—particularly in older residential neighborhoods—now experiences chronic flooding events. Continue reading Jacksonville Steps Ahead

A Piet Oudolf Across the Street

Chicago’s historic Sears Sunken Garden is part of a strategy to revitalize a struggling West Side neighborhood.

By Zach Mortice

When Sears closed its West Side campus in the 1980s, the garden received less maintenance and upkeep. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, HABS, Reproduction Number ILL,16-CHIG,110-12.

That the Sears Sunken Garden, completed in 1907 as part of the 40-acre Sears, Roebuck and Company campus that dominated Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood for decades, was originally shared by managers, executives, and warehouse stockers is something Reshorna Fitzpatrick, a pastor at North Lawndale’s Proceeding Word Church, hammers home when telling people about the garden.

Continue reading A Piet Oudolf Across the Street

Breaking Bonds

Design for Freedom works to end modern slavery in the materials supply chain.

By Kamila Grigo

Theaster Gates Black Chapel Design
A design by the artist Theaster Gates, Black Chapel was a pilot project of Design for Freedom. © Theaster Gates Studio. Photo: Iwan Baan. Courtesy: Serpentine

The 2022 Serpentine Pavilion, titled Black Chapel and designed by the multihyphenate artist Theaster Gates, was conceived as a space offering contemplation, community, and joy to the public.

Installed next to the Serpentine South Gallery in London’s Kensington Gardens, the austere pavilion felt at once imposing, as it reached just beyond the treetops, and humbly compact and perfectly embedded within its context.

Continue reading Breaking Bonds