We've Moved

Ecology of Absence now resides at www.preservationresearch.com. Please change your links and feeds.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Urban Prairie in Downtown Evansville, Indiana

In the heart of Evansville, Indiana, just across the street from the former federal building, is this half-block of vacant earth. It's not a construction site. It's not a parking lot. It's just land with grass growing on it.


Kate said...

They have a farmers' market there every Friday during the summer.

Michael R. Allen said...

That's certainly a good use for the site.

bjrussell said...

I found this site by accident and noticed the photograph. I immediately recognized the grassy lot that you mistakenly tagged with the words “abandonment, land use & urbanism”. You are wrong. This land is far from abandoned. It is an integral part of our local community just as it stands. Five days a week from May to the end of October it appears just as in your photograph. It is the other 2 days a week that it serves as an important gathering place for local farmers, artists, crafters and our community. It is our Downtown Farmers Market.

Buying your food products at a local farmers market is a win-win situation for you, your community, our local farmers and even the environment itself. It also serves to keep the money spent in the community. For every $100 spent at locally owned businesses and farms, $45 stays in the community. For big box stores or businesses owned by corporations only $14 stays in our community. Purchasing food from local farmers supports the local economy and helps farmers to retain their livelihood. Farmers markets provide the opportunity to connect with the local families who planted and harvested the food.

There are several more reasons that this “empty lot” is important to our local community as it is. This “empty lot” helps us preserve other “open spaces” in our community. As the value of direct-marketed fruits and vegetables increases, selling farmland for development becomes less likely. Have you taken a Sunday drive out of town with your kids? You have probably admired the lush fields of crops, meadows full of wildflowers and picturesque red barns. That landscape will survive only as long as farms are financially viable. When we buy locally grown food at this market we are being proactive in preserving the agricultural landscape.

We are also helping keep our taxes in check. Farms contribute more in taxes than they require in services, whereas suburban development costs more than it generates in taxes. For every $1 in revenue raised by residential development, governments must spend $1.17 on services, thus requiring higher taxes of all taxpayers. For each dollar of revenue raised by farm, forest, or open space, governments spend 34 cents on services.

I could spend more time telling you the value of this “open space” but I won’t. I hope that you remove the tag “abandonment” from this photograph since it is far from abandoned.