A Community Park Redesigned as a Symbiotic Cell Cooperative Farm
A South Knoxville Park
Revitalizing a Community through Sustainability
For cities and neighborhoods to be sustainable and to function as efficient and self-sustaining natural ecosystems they need to be designed as one. The question, however, is can they be designed as such? This project conducted by an interdisciplinary team, consisting of an architecture student and a landscape architecture faculty, aims to tackle this ambitious hypothesis through an exercise in symbiotic place-making in Knoxville, TN.
Knoxville, with an approximate population of 173 thousand, is a town characterized by a stark socio-economic divide between the North and South Knoxville areas divided the banks of the Tennessee River. The town is trying to break free from an environmentally scarred past � related to damming the Tennessee River, superfund sites, and rapid urbanization at the cost of micro-ecosystems � through a conscious shift to sustainable thinking. The progression towards sustainability is reflected through green-energy policies, greenway planning and regeneration design proposals for South Knoxville, among others. This project adds to the sustainability vision for Knoxville and green-design thinking for a broader urban-design community in following ways:
• Community service and neighborhood re-invigoration: By creating a place-to-be in the underprivileged socio-economic community of South Knoxville.
• Productive self-sustaining design: Through designing the park as an “inhabitable farm” that not only provides green relaxing spaces for the community but also an avenue for growing food for the community.
• Creating a unit for symbiotic system: The park design could be applied in all parks across South Knoxville thus creating a system of parks that enhances the symbiotic co-existence of the park system with the neighborhood system.
This project is the first part of a progression in thinking, not yet complete, but shows a promising approach to deal with the widely persistent schism between the built and the un-built environment.