I've been immersed in a lot of urban studies reading at work lately, and have recently come across an intriguing phenomenon: the urban prairie. This occurrence is usually found in rust belt cities, like the one where I grew up. An urban prairie occurs when city buildings collapse or have been torn down and nothing rebuilt in its place. As a result, grasses and weeds begin to grow and wildlife may begin to reinhabit it.
Yes, we have our fair share of empty lots that have become overgrown with grass and weeds and trash. But this post is about a different observation: Walking around on both Washington and Lafayette recently, I've noticed that there are an insane amount of grasses and weeds growing up out of the sidewalk areas that are paved with old bricks. The first is at the southeast corner of Underhill park, on Washington:
So sad, seeing that this is a well-used children's park.
The second has cropped up on Lafayette Ave past St. James, in front of the St. James Apartments (Mitchell-Lama housing). This brick space extends for an entire block, and, with the buildings set away from the street, makes the north side of the street here look desolate and dirty. Imagine this space with tables and benches!
So, who is responsible for maintaining these areas of sidewalk? The city? Think about how pretty these planters would look if they were being maintained!
Why wouldn't the residents here get together to fix this?
Who makes the decisions about these spaces, and how can we fix them?