Friday, July 18, 2008

Convivial Places

Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto had a wonderful idea. They had a park bordered by distinctly separate neighborhoods and built an oven in the middle.
The confluence of food and fire draw people together, to sit, to eat, to talk.


Patrick at EarthWorks; Sharon at The Day House

Monday, July 7, 2008

zender and other places

At the intersection of Mt. Elliot Street and Zender Place on the east side of Detroit sits this structure. It is one of a number of gathering places built by residents and neighbors through the very local association of block clubs. Essentially like they sound, block clubs are somewhere between a block association and a loose confederation of friends depending on the organizers. The Zender Place sign (on an earlier post and across the street from this structure) which announces its welcome, subtitles itself "a great place!' (exclamation point is on the sign.

I love this enthusiasm--I value the hands that put this structure together, the folks that gather under its roof to talk, to grill out, to have a beer, and the joyous proclamation of the sign.

I have been reading The Great Neighborhood Book, put together by The Project for Public Places in New York that advocates for this sort of block level activity. Zender Place is fairly elaborate--the four poster with pitched roof and the grills speak to a relative permenance. Many of the other less formal spots around town do what Project for Public Places (PPS) suggests--offering a place to sit.
If you know of a block club or a structure of welcome or a good place to sit, send it this way--a photo, an intersection, your thoughts on what makes this a great place.
For the meanwhile, from the City's website if you're interested in starting a block club:
Block Clubs