The group got together last week to lay out the garden and quickly realized it was bigger than we thought and gets less than ideal sun. Nonetheless, we are planning on carrots, lots of chili peppers, some dwarf tomatoes, and a few central trellises of beans and cucumbers. And we are counting on that garden-workhorse, zucchini, to do its part.
Laying out a garden always makes me think of urban deisgner, Kevin Lynch, who taught at MIT for 30 years and was the author of the still influential book, Image of the City. In it, he coined the word “wayfinding” to describe how people identify the paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks in their communities to navigate the places they live. (The phrase wayfinding has, unfortunately, come to mean cheesy sign systems that are often used to remedy poorly designed places.)
It’s fun to think of your own community this way. When do you feel you’ve left your neighborhood? What are the paths you travel and what are your own personal landmarks?
I’ve left my neighborhood when I reach the bottom of the hill and one of my primary paths is Massachusetts Avenue, because it leads to my personal landmark, the library. And a node, why the corner of Fenton and Ellsworth, of course.
Lynch was working on his last design, for his vegatable garden, when he died in 1984 at his home on Martha’s Vineyard.
And that’s a roundabout way of giving you a bit more planner’s jargon.