Problem to Purpose: From Gas Station to Food Station, Solving Insecurity through Creative Placemaking

February 18, 2020

According to a 2017 study, a whopping 48 percent of Detroit households are “food insecure.” This means that nearly 30,000 Detroit residents experience hurdles when trying to access to quality and affordable food options.

How are residents tackling the challenge?

One group, Hope Community (Cool Cities) Park, is tackling food insecurity through bringing options closer to residents through an old gas station property in Detroit, Michigan. The former filling station site was transformed into a vibrant neighborhood park where they host a weekly farmers market. The market not only gives residents access to fresh, healthy (and local!) foods, but also provides fun activities that rotate each week — like free yoga and massages, books swaps, arts & crafts, and more.

In addition, HOPE Community Park serves as a community gathering space for events like weekly spoken word performances, the annual photography festival, and a community garden.

“Through a neighborhood fellowship program, we recruited residents to work with a master gardener to create and maintain a beautiful set of gardens,” said Debbie Fisher of Focus: HOPE. ”Key aspects of this solution were motivated residents and a skilled volunteer willing to invest his time and resources in training and assisting.”

Need Ideas for a Community Creative Placemaking Project?

Download the “Trends in Creative Placemaking on Problem Properties: 2019 National Survey Findings” for data and real case studies of communities, like Oakland, where residents are solving community challenges while fighting vacancy.

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