March 08 2013

Rethink-Reuse Series: The Recession’s Secret Garden

Project Bloom

As a child in elementary school, you become subjected to such plays on words as rethink, reuse, and recycle. To you, as a child, it is fascinating and mind-numbing how the words work together. As the years fade though, so does the fascination with this play on words. Your once favorite buzz word recess has been replaced with recession. Faulted by the recession, property owners, commercial and residential, are abandoning their properties in striking numbers. Is it possible that channeling our inner child could help urban planners rethink and reuse these standing creatures?

Rethink: How Do We See Deserted Buildings?

In 2003, artist Anna Schuleit completed Project Bloom for the public in which she planted 28,000 flowers in an abandoned mental hospital. As with most artists, there was a message soaked within the subject of her exhibition. Art is meant to be thought provoking and challenge the core of us all, to present new and great ideas.

Could there possibly be a longer lasting use for Project Bloom? Like many other towns in the United Kingdom, Nottingham is riddled with abandoned buildings. When considering the benefits of greenhouses, the idea of converting abandoned buildings in Nottingham should not be overlooked.

ReUse: Putting Nottingham’s Abandoned Buildings To Greater Use

Abandoned Building in Nottingham


  • Become self-sustaining: Self-sufficient food markets will began to take prominence in the community, leading to a healthier society, leading to a reduced cost for health care;
  • Educate the public: Public greenhouses can serve as places for green education; residents will quickly adjust to environmental changes and sustainability mandates;
  • Hire the homeless: The greenhouses will need laborers. By hiring the homeless, Nottingham would be taking a firm stance on homelessness.

By introducing such a movement, Nottingham would make strong strides in its push for sustainability. Doing so will also give the community greater resources. Highly informed residents will help accelerate the city’s plans to reach its sustainability goals, because of their increased knowledge and interest in environmental issues.

How could a concept such as this transform your city?

Credits: Photographs by Michael Jenkins. Data linked to sources.

Michael Jenkins

An Oakland, California native, Michael Jenkins is a recent post graduate from the University of Nottingham Business School with a Masters in Business Administration. Jenkins’ interest in urban regeneration and town planning sprouted during a visit to China. It was there that Michael met with firms that combined business consulting with innovative urban designs stimulating economic growth. He believes economic development can be generated through the connections between city council, local business, and education as he saw modeled in China. Currently residing in Nottingham, England, Michael spots similarities between Nottingham and Oakland, as well as opportunities for development and growth. He aims to bring transformational solutions for city improvement. Michael's areas of focus lay within town planning, urban regeneration, and human capital. During his off time, Michael enjoys backpacking, outdoor adventures, vinyasa yoga, and completing items off his bucket list. For more, follow him on twitter @ClaudeMJenkins

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This entry was posted on Friday, March 8th, 2013 at 9:53 am and is filed under Architecture, Community/Economic Development, Environment, Environmental Design, Housing, Land Use, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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