There is a very informative interview with Vikram Bhatt, Director of the McGill School of Architecture’s Minimum Cost Housing Group (MCHG) in the McGill Reporter.
“This isn’t a about fighting against parking lots and plazas,” said Vikram Bhatt in the middle of a fertile patch of radishes, carrots, sunflowers and pumpkins that thrives on the east side of Burnside Hall where but a few short years ago only concrete and a rock basin could be found. “This is about working together to make better use of our city spaces.” ...Read more...
I call what he said here urban greenscaping. He goes on to talk about the McGill Edible Campus project done in partnership with the Rooftop Garden Project (part of the Montreal based NGO Alternatives). The Edible Campus is an outstanding project in support of local food and I've blogged about it before.
Read the article and you may have the same question that I have. Why do we not have a project like this here in the U.S? We have something like seventy land grant universities that teach agriculture and horticulture and I don't know of one of them doing something like the McGill project. Do understand that taxpayer money supports these schools.
These institutions are clearly out of touch with the realities of urban life and we should do something about it. One way to modernize education in this field would be to use some of the Obama administration community college initiative money to start certificate programs in “urban greenscaping”.
There is no need for a four-year college degree in horticulture to operate very effectively in the field of urban greenscaping. There are new jobs and career paths here just waiting to be filled. All we need are new education venues.
I am going to explore the possibilities here in New York City. If you are a community college administrator interested in establishing a certificate program in urban greenscaping please contact me.
If you’re in the New York metro area, come to the Waterpod this weekend and let’s talk about it. I'll give you, your kid or grandkid a pop/soda bottle planter. Such a deal!
Note: The Waterpod will be berthed at Pier 5 in Brooklyn Bridge Park this weekend. It is worth a visit. I hope to see you there.