Park View’s Activist Wangari Gardeners Featured in Washington Post

A group of “garden activists” is creating the Wangari Mathai park/garden in the District’s Park View neighborhood (Post photo).

Saturday’s Washington Post included an article on ‘Guerrilla Gardening’ aka activist gardening that featured, among others, the Park View folks creating the Wangari Gardens located between Irving and Kenyon just west of Washington Hospital Center.

According to the Post, activist gardening is a “phenomenon … that is taking off this spring in cities such as Portland, Detroit, Baltimore and the District, where young urbanites are redefining the seemingly fusty pastime as a tool for social change.” The basic concept of activist gardening, which dates back to the late-1960s, is that members of the community organize to create a garden on land that is otherwise neglected. Sometimes this is done with permits — sometimes it isn’t. In the case of Wangari Gardens permits were issues.

While the article noted that some commenters on local blogs consider guerrilla gardening to be an “example of overly exuberant gentrifiers hoping to take over neighborhoods that may not want to change,” not everyone has that attitude. Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), for example, told the Post he “wants the city to develop a permit process for community gardening and provide an inventory of vacant District land that could be used for community gardens.”

Whether you support activist gardening or not, it does highlight one very essential desire for those that live in urban environments, the need for green space that supports community and recreational activities. Such green space is notably lacking in much of Ward 1.

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6 Comments on “Park View’s Activist Wangari Gardeners Featured in Washington Post”

  1. My Ramblings Says:

    While I support the need for green spaces, I think that the gentrifiers v. neighborhood issue is an important one. I live a few blocks from the field and was sad to see an open space that kids played baseball in, people walked dogs on, and families picnicked in become another planned urban space. We have so many areas that are occupied with structures (including those three community gardens already existing within a five-block radius of Wangari Gardens), and it was nice to have a space that was just. . .space. I’m sure the “activists” think they’re doing something nice for the neighborhood–and that there are plenty of neighbors who appreciate it–but in doing so have taken away a community space that was great precisely because it was untended.

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Why can’t the Wangari people just use the garden at Georgia and Columbia? Also, Wangari is not as pretty a garden as the city sanctioned garden at the Parkview Park–those colors are kinda tacky
    .

  3. trey Says:

    has gardening become a new platform for meeting hot young yuppie singles? if so, the wangari folks should all just commence some level of intercourse and get it over with.

  4. Michael Says:

    As a neighbor who lives across the street from this re-purposed open space, I welcome Wangari Gardens. What a joy to see so many people & neighbors discovering our neighborhood & enjoying the space.

    Prior to the garden/park, the most prevalent activities in the open space were: 1) Unfenced dog park [good for the dogs, bad for tracking poop] 2) Motocross practice [loud, motorized dirt bikes] 3) A shortcut to/from Kenyon St + Park Place & the Wash Hosp Ctr.
    Yeah, the space was being used before; but now, it has a more positive designated use (rain garden, dog park, community plots).

    With open arms…welcome, Wangari Gardens!

  5. mb Says:

    We were lucky enough to get a plot in the new gardens (live about 6 blocks away). Other than dog walking, I never saw the space being used for much else. I agree, open space is great, but this was really an under utilized space that basically functioned as a big traffic island. There are plans to include an orchard (and DC needs all the trees it can get), educational gardens for kids, AND a dog park. Not everything in this City is about gentrification etc.


  6. Im all in favour of people trying to improves run down public areas with planting. It can help improve community areas and people take pride in their community.


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