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                             LOISAIDA         NYC COMMUNITY GARDENS
                             PUBLISHER: a+mbookstore
                             COLLECTION: LINARIA
                             EDITOR: Michela Pasquali
                             TEXTS: english-italian by Maria Vittoria dalla Cia and Michela Pasquali
                             PHOTOS: Michela Pasquali, Margaret Morton, Donald Loggins
                             PAGES: 144
                             PICTURES: 87
                             PRICE: $ 30,00
                             YEAR: may 2006
                             DISTRIBUTION: IDEA BOOKS




The book LOISAIDA NYC COMMUNITY GARDENS guides the readers through the many community
gardens created in vacant lots in the little but culturally active Manhattan neighborhood
bordering on the Financial District, called Loisaida, originally born to accomodate the waves of
immigrants moving to the USA.
The book tells the gardens’ story and their development and evolution over the past thirty
years, including the recent risk of their being demolished due to building speculation in the
area. First created at the beginning of the 1970s, thanks to the initiative of a group of local
residents, the Loisaida community gardens stand out as one of the most interesting examples
of New York’s hidden green urban spaces. A blend of different cultures, languages, religions
and habits which overlap and often come together in the evocative names chosen for the
gardens: El Sol Brillante, Brisas del Caribe, Miracle Garden, Jardin de la Esperanza, Creative
Little Garden.
The gardens can be described as spontaneous or highly individual, indigenous and local,
ethnic, exotic, as well as precarious, marginal, nondescript. However, vernacular is the term
that best describes the domestic, everyday nature of the gardens and designates them as the
kind of minor, non-institutional green areas that have always existed alongside public parks
and historical and botanical gardens. They represent ‘one of man’s real necessities and a
fundamental, innate need that arises despite any obstacle, like all other primary
necessities’(Rudolf Borchardt).
Common to all Loisaida gardens are their great typological variability, the originality of their
expository modules, their lack of a project, the extensive use of recycled objects and materials
and the blending of ornamental and spontaneous vegetation. All the above suggests a possible
definition: anomalous, ephemeral gardens, the form of which will be changeability, the mixing
of languages and means of expression, which might also be very distant from each other,
always in unexpected and surprising combinations. There are some sixty gardens, as big as
entire blocks or as small as flower beds, squeezed in between the walls of surrounding
buildings. Their number keeps on changing: each year new gardens are created, while some
are abandoned or demolished to make space for new buidings.
The many color pictures taken by Michela Pasquali show the way the gardens look at present,
while the black and white pictures taken by Margaret Morton and Donald Loggins illustrate
their beginnings and early life. The book is completed by two afterwords written by Mario
Maffi, professor of Anglo-American Literature at the Milan State University and author of books
on Loisaida and by Massimo Venturi Ferriolo, professor of Aesthetics at the Milan Architecture
Faculty.

       a+mbookstore via Tadino, 30 20124 Milano tel +3902-29527729 fax +3902-29526115
                   www.artecontemporanea.com www.linariabooks.com
                                    info@linariabooks.com
CONTENTS

PREFACE

INTRODUCTION
The history of the community gardens in America

LOISAIDA
The neighborhood
History
The gardens
From the origins until today

THE GARDENS
How to read the gardens
Dimensions and morphology
Vegetation
Water
Decorative elements
Evolution

NEIGHBORHOOD LIFE
Organization and management
School-gardens
Gordon Matta Clark and La Plaza Cultura Garden
Opening times, access to the public and guided tours
Events

CONCLUSIONS

POSTFACE
Gardens of memory by Mario Maffi
Vernacular gardens by Massimo Venturi Ferriolo

THE ASSOCIATIONS

BIBLIOGRAPHY




       a+mbookstore via Tadino, 30 20124 Milano tel +3902-29527729 fax +3902-29526115
                   www.artecontemporanea.com www.linariabooks.com
                                    info@linariabooks.com

				
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