Someone on Penn Avenue was “Hungry” and at Latham St. Commons there are at least two “Gardeners” (if novice). Another person on Penn Avenue needs “great locally grown food” while someone at Latham St. Commons needs “a community space for raising fruits and veggies and teaching people about healthy living” and someone in-between wishes “we weren't afraid to talk to each other.” While the “data” we’ve compiled from Unblurred’s Milk and Cookies tags has been from two separate groups they are in dialogue.
We have a neighborhood of people that are hopeful, see a need to resolve deeper issues of segregation, and wish for a place to connect to their neighbors. The resolution of these issues of identity, sustenance, and shared vision of the future seem grounded in the overlap of distinctly different neighborhoods. Penn Avenue, thought of as a “Zipper” linking the gentrification of the arts to the economic realities of vacancy, crime and segregation acts as a magnetic force. Latham St. Commons sits within a context rich with history, young and old, a vibrant garden, small-locally owned businesses, and a sense of peace. The two comparatively may seem slow and fast, quiet and loud, old and young, residential and commercial yet truthfully, a little bit of Latham St. Commons’s quiet is between the lots of Penn Avenue. The loud construction of Penn Avenue is matched by student projects popping up in Octopus Garden, on the side of Latham St. Commons and in the volume of ideas collected on bright green tags. The crawl through Penn Avenue, down Coral St. and into the Latham St. Commons is a progression that travels along a path of gradation, continuously evolving from one context to the other in our Pittsburghese way.
Our dialogue is carried in my mind tonight as I wonder about the possibilities the last few weeks of the semester hold. We’ve only scraped the surface of potential for this site with sketches for small business incubators, a safe place for children to learn, play and create, ideas of structural loading, productive farming indoor and outdoor. A multitude of opportunities sit at the table with us every Thursday as a testament to the nature of our neighborhoods’ overlap. An answer will be one of many and we are excited to share this process of discovery with all of you.