This past Friday, January, 18th, we had our first chance to present to the Charleston Parks Conservancy with our analysis of the garden site in Corinne Jones Park.
So what exactly does it take to design a community garden?
A lot of us in Studio V are not from the Charleston area and in order to better understand the current conditions, we dove into the history of the neighborhood. We found that Corinne Jones Park, now owned by the city, used to be the home of temporary WWII housing before being purchased by CCSD (Charleston County School District) with plans of becoming a school. Additionally, we looked at what the demographics in the area were. With a large percentage of families in the neighborhood, the park plays a key role in the neighborhood for recreational use.
An important part of planning a community garden is a thorough analysis of the site. We looked at movement of people through the site and shadow on the site, through sun path diagrams. This is really important in order to properly place garden beds on the site, since a full 6 hours of sun is recommended for the plants, but 8 hours is optimal.
We analyzed what components make their existing community gardens work and took inventory and measurement of those. They are currently moving from a 4’-0” sized regular garden bed to a 12’-0” sized bed, how might this affect the layout of the garden? We also looked at their existing storage and how that works and does not work for their current needs.
An important part of the analysis portion of the design process is looking at how other community gardens have been designed. What were some design strategies that they used that we could also use in Corinne Jones Park? This research really fueled the “what if it could do this?” and opened the door for some creative conversation about the possibilities of the garden.
Leaving the meetings, everyone had a good amount of background information and the energy we needed to start work for our next presentation, when each member of the studio will bring forward individual garden design concepts.