This year the Eskew+Dumez+Ripple MLK Day of Service will focus on the “civil landscape” connecting the mission and work of our partner organizations to issues of water management and public space. Over the last month we reviewed applications from across New Orleans that ranged from small community gardens to citywide initiatives. Each project addressed a different aspect of the RFP’s and after lively debate the studio selected four projects across a range of scales and that engage a wide variety of skill sets within the office. The organizations we selected are: The Hive (Health Improvement through Vitality Education), Propeller, Sugar Roots Farm, and the Urban Conservancy.
Last week we got the chance to meet our partners in person at our weekly Friday Forum, when the four organizations joined us in the office to meet their project teams. Each group gave a brief presentation about their work and then did a deep dive into their specific project. There were many great discussion and connections made while the teams got to know each other and we are all every excited to get started. The projects that we will be working on are:
Meet our Partners
The Hive – UMC Urban Farm
The UMC Urban Farm is a proposed 4-acre greenspace that will implement evidence driven public health interventions that serve a local need to increase fruit and vegetable consumption and for more active recreation. The current vision is for four sections – a production farm, a community garden, an event space, and a fitness space. We are excited to see this project move forward adjacent to the new VA Medical Center campus, an EDR project that you can read about here.
Propeller – Water Incubator Facility
The Water Incubator Facility will establish a second permanent site for Propeller, doubling its space and adding dedicated facilities focused on engaging water entrepreneurs. The Day of Service project will envision a space for building community, innovation, peer learning, and public participation around water management and that has the potential to impact the local and nation conversation about these issues.
Sugar Roots Farm – Gathering Space and Facilities Upgrade
This free-range, working farm engages visitors and campers with sustainable farming, earth stewardship, and compassion through connections with farm animals, people, and nature. The Sugar Roots Farm team will work to design a gathering space and facilities upgrade so that the farm can accommodate up to 60 visitors per day, increased from 15 today. This may include stormwater management to create a dry gathering space, rainwater harvesting, and a composting toilets. Together these projects will help to reduce each visitors impacts on the site and natural systems of the farm.
Urban Conservancy – The Front Yard Initiative
The Front Yard Initiative is a citywide effort to better manage water where it lands thought educating residents to make “watersmart” changes to their properties. The program then provides financial and technical assistance to implement these changes. On MLK Day we will work with the Urban Conservancy to create a guide to help residents design their projects to remove concrete and replace it with permeable surfaces and appropriate plantings.
The studio is excited to engage with our partners over the next month as we work towards MLK Day and our one-day design marathon. Over this time, we will dig into the work of our partners, learn about their neighborhoods and communities, and gather the data we need to be successful. Check back in with us to see pictures of site visits and to learn more about our community partners.