Urban Aboreta takes root

Originally posted on Knight Blog by Chip Schwartz.

Empty lots are a common sight in the City of Brotherly Love. Philadelphia is dotted with vacant land in just about every corner, and this surplus of space could serve any number of purposes. Urban Arboreta has an unequivocal approach to the issue of urban land: trees.

Matthew Langan's initial vision for an Urban Arboretum in Philadelphia.

Matthew Langan’s initial vision for an Urban Arboretum in Philadelphia.

A project of the City Parks Association and winner of a Knight Cities grantUrban Arboreta will place an emphasis on self-sustaining, environmentally sound business models for the nursery production of trees, while also providing open, public space where residents can relax and learn.

Initially conceived in 2005, Urban Arboreta is much like Philadelphia’s attitude towards vacancy–it has come a long way. By viewing these so-called ‘urban voids’ as opportunities instead of blight, design studios–led by project leaders Tim Baird, Matt Langan and Deenah Loeb–continued to evolve and expand the initial concept. In 2015, Urban Arboreta was selected as one of the 32 winners of the Knight Cities Challenge, solidifying its mission to change the Philly landscape.

Continue reading via Knight Blog and learn more about this year’s 158 Knight Cities Challenge finalists.