A housing demolition project in Rotterdam Netherlands has turned into an opportunity for a community to grow together. The removal of the houses on Gaffelstraat 70-88 created a temporary open space between existing streets and houses and has been reclaimed by local residents to create a vibrant community garden dubbed De Tussentuin, the “in between” garden.
The design of this temporary garden tells the story of the demolishing houses and of the colorful histories of the people who lived there. The former house lots are now used as a flower or a kitchen garden. The result is a patchwork of different colors, images and atmospheres with a strong relationship between each other. The neighborhood uses the garden just for watching, for hanging around, gardening or to listen to music. There is a long community dining table and a tent for bands to play afternoon concerts with acoustic music. The garden has become an important part of the neighborhood and brought the residents closer to each other.
The structure of the garden is simple and consists grassy paths, one wide path in the middle that connects all the plots and is surrounded by a hedgerow. Within this structure, each resident has a private plot and is responsible for that plot. The hedgerow consist a range of native trees and shrubs, such as Amelanchier lamarckii, Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Secret, Populus alba and Populus tremula. This variety of plants creates an exuberant bloom and has nice autumn hues. The collective garden is separated from the public space by a fence overgrown with Wisteria sinensis ‘Alba’ and Clematis armandii.
Aside from the fun that all the gardeners, musicians and visitors have, the Tussentuin has also a social and physical spin off for the neighborhood. People have seen that projects like these can be realized with the energy of residents – by claiming public space and making their own environment livable. At the beginning of 2013 they will start with the construction of the new houses. In the meantime, the gardeners are searching for another location. They want another place close to the street or square so that they can create a beautiful and attractive place for himself and for everyone who wants to enjoy their.
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