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Plunk a Park in a Lot

A neighborhood feels more friendly with a park. You’ll see more dog walkers, kids zooming on scooters, tots playing and parents watching youngsters play. More is better for the community. In our neighborhood there are lots is parks, and many people using them. This is where I bump into my neighbors. I love our parks and spend a few hours a month picking up trash in our closest parks. It is great to see a small green oasis near where I live.

There are several groups and resources to do this! If you need encouragement, just imagine that trash filled lot turning into a small slice of heaven.  In our local parks we have organizations like FUF – Friends of the Urban Forest, Habitat for Humanity that has a group devoted to making play structures for a low cost, completed by their volunteers. Done in a Day!  We volunteer as a group for our company – a great team treat!

There are more than 43,000 vacant lots in Philadelphia, but if you want to turn one into a park, it’s not as easy as it should be. There are endless delays from the city, and once you get it, park equipment and construction work is often too expensive for a community to afford themselves. So professors at local Thomas Jefferson University found a better way: a simple kit of design elements and easy-to-assemble items that locals can pick from and have delivered in a van and install themselves. They just download the schematics and go to work. And after a few days, they have a new park that they designed and built themselves. Read more.

Even if a park doesn’t fit or there are other obstacles, you and your local friends can consider a community garden.  A couple benches and a tree in a postage stamp sized lot can be quick improvement on a busy street.


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