Community Involvement

As you know, our group is developing a recycling centre called gREenCYCLE. Our centre has 3 main focuses.

  1. Providing a more affordable recycling system for business,
  2. Implementing more recycling reciprocals on streets that do not currently have enough,
  3. Having a strong community presence.

This week, we wanted to go into more depth about the community involvement aspect we intend to implement into our centre. We believe that a very important aspect of promoting recycling is to get the community to learn more about it, and provide easier opportunities for them to properly recycle their materials and objects. A lot of people do not recycle items because they either don’t know enough about the issue, or they don’t know what to do with the item. Recycling is a very important environmental issue in our community, as well as the world, but people simply do not understand the magnitude of the issue. The purpose of gREenCYCLE to is provide the community with both a place to properly dispose of recyclable items as well as learn about the issue in a fun and interactive way.

This image, from Google, is an example of the type of program we wish to provide to the community. Starting a home recycling system with kids is a great way to ingrain the concept into them at a young age.

We are intending to create a space that is very interactive in nature. Instead of giving us the material and walking away, we want them to be part of the process; learn what happens to it and where it goes next. We want to have school programs where elementary classes can come to the centre and take part in these interactive activities.  We are also thinking about a program where people can make their own items made out of recyclable items, similar to the merchandise we sell. This would be a great way for people to learn about reusing materials. It would get them thinking about what they can do with materials or objects after they are done with the items initial purpose.

Check back next week to learn more about another aspect of our project!


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Long Live Legacy

Six weeks seems so long, but not when the time is short. From assisting a local community garden, to exploring urban gardens, vertical farming, container gardens, and finally signage, the Urban Agriculture group took quite the ride to the end of the six week long Green Corridor course. Our project ideas were ever changing and growing. This week concluded the chaos, with a presentation of our final piece; the signage. The journey of the signage was not easy either. From traditional poster-style-bulletin-boards, to banners, to stencil and lights, the signage evolved to the cedar post bird houses unit that it is now. Through it, we hope to achieve an artistic and aesthetic appeal, as well as to draw our audience to the ‘urban arts community’ – our temporary name for the site located between the ecohouses on California Ave.

The signage was originally modelled with 5 posts of differing heights to represent a hand, on top of which text and items were to be placed. From here the birdhouses concept was borrowed towards the new and final signage. The choice of using no text, but rather birdhouses was to turn heads twice, and have a symbolic meaning. Through the clustering of the birdhouses on the post, we hoped to achieve our initial goal of representing community. The presence of local birds, we hoped would make the piece interesting, eye-catching, and representative of how we felt of the land, Green Corridor, and its surrounding environment.

At the conclusion of our six weeks with Green Corridor, the Urban Agriculture group shared their experiences of frustration, satisfaction, and accomplishment. We built our project on the basis that it would be functional, with or without our presence. We hope for future students of Green Corridor to build upon (and improve) what we have initiated, allowing for this project to be an inspiration to the community for years to come.

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Design Like You Give A Damn!

Design Like You Give A Damn is the name of a book by Architecture for Hunanity. I was told about this book and another, Design For The Other 90%, by Gaelyn from Tug Collective. I (Stephen) was very interested in these ideas of design from the beginning of the course. I am also very interested in implementing these ideas in my own practices within the near future. After Kevin and I began to work out methods of treatment for our pallet structure Gaelyn sent us a page from Design Like You Give  A Damn. This depicts our chosen construction methods.

“The pallets can be plastered in wattle and daub or filled with straw, rubble or other material for insulation.” -Design Like You Give A Damn, a project by I-Beam Design

The ability to re-use one of Windsor’s most plentiful object (the pallet) gives rise to the opportunity to create extremely low impact structures and community sites. Our group is doing experiments that will give insight into many aspects of this building method.

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Turn the Tables, or the Signs!

This week the Urban Agriculture group started to contact organizations within the city about the maintenance of the garden during the summer time. On Thursday, two of our members met with the director of the Youth Connection Association. Kenny Gbadebo said he was really interested in our project and willing to help us, but the only thing was the students would not be there during the summer time and would come back in September. He is hoping to hold a summer camp in August, but gave us his contact information and encouraged us to keep in touch. Therefore, this organization could be one of our options to help the maintenance of the garden.

On the other hand, the design of the sign for the garden was still on the way. On Tuesday, after a small meeting with Rod, we decided on the title name for the sign which was “Visual Arts Community”. We wrote the brief introduction of the uses for the land between the two eco-houses, which would be posted on the sign. During Thursday’s class, we discussed our write-up and new designs with the professors. A new suggestion was made for the sign, involving the idea of making a large sign without any wording on it. The sign would act as an eye-catcher, to attract individuals to the garden. Another suggestion made was to add a rain barrel to the sign, or site. The rain barrel needed to be aesthetically appealing and also have high technical skills; therefore it could water the flowers automatically and also be sensitive to the amount of water needed by the flowers. This led us to change our direction completely from the original sign project. Consultations were made with the Wildflower Group to keep their plans for the design of the land in mind, while also fulfilling our requirements of the location and size of the sign. The tasks for the completion of the new sign were separated among group members and work was to be started immediately during the weekend. In the end, we planned to have a finalized sign for next week so that preparations for construction and assembly could be underway.

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Art & Urban Agriculture: Building a Sustainable Future

As part of The University of Windsor’s “Green Corridor” winter 2010 class 6 different students, from varying academic disciplines, have assembled into a group that will research, develop, and implement the foundations for what will eventually become a community garden utilizing the vacant space available at the site of the Eco-House, another project by the Green Corridor providing a prototype for an environmentally friendly and self sustaining residential home. This garden will be self sustaining, organic, and provide vegetation that will nourish not only the community but the environment as well.

The team is comprised of an interdisciplinary mixture of students: Mike, Brad, and Kyle from Mechanical Engineering, Roel from Sociology, Megan from Visual Art & Anthropology, and Chris from Visual Art & Communications.Hopefully the combined skills of critical thinking, innovative problem solving, and technical know-how provided by our group will result in a vibrant and effective collaboration.

The community garden is a new project proposed by the artist run collective Green Corridor and our group is the first to tackle the project. In the few classes we’ve had thus far we’ve created a basic plan of attack: we need to determine the quality of the soil that is currently available at the site figuring out the toxicity and nutritional levels, research viable solutions for enriching the soil, design the most effective layout possible for the garden, and map out possible areas on campus the project could be extended to in the future.

Luckily we have the help of Dr. Rita Haase, a professor here at the University of Windsor who works with a local activist group “FedUp”. She has interests in developing the garden as well and our group will be meeting with her on a semi-regular basis and will hopefully be able to assist her in developing ideas while utilizing her experience and knowledge to enable us to make more effective decisions in relation to our sustainable garden.

As a group we’re excited to see where we can take this project and look forward to the process of developing it.

The Team

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