June 2, 2010 by Robin Plaskoff Horton
Baltimore’s going greener behind closed gates. By gating some of the city’s approximately 600 miles of private and public alleys, many are being transformed into verdant kid-friendly urban gardens and social meeting spaces.
In 2007, the Gating and Greening Alleys Ordinance was passed. Alleys are eligible if the adjacent structures are mostly residential; the alley is no longer needed for through pedestrian or vehicular traffic; and the gating and/or greening will promote public health, safety or welfare.
Baltimore has been the primary pilot site for Ashoka’s Community Greens initiative, which according to Ashoka, “restores community to neighborhoods across the country, enhances the environment, and empowers citizens by integrating citizen-managed shared green spaces into places where people live and work.”
Community Greens intends to catalyze the development of shared green spaces within residential urban neighborhoods across the United States, calling these green spaces Community Greens. They promote adding usable green space to our cities by converting underutilized backyards and dysfunctional alleys into functional and beautiful shared green spaces that are owned, managed, and enjoyed by the people who live around them. Stay tuned.
Photos: The Washington Post