FROM THE DIRECTOR
Rarely have I worked on a project that I feel is quite as timely and potentially impactful as this film on the Beach 41st Street garden. With images of Texas, Florida and the Caribbean fresh in our minds, this story of how nature has helped one Queens community heal following Hurricane Sandy is incredibly relevant.
When Sandy’s storm surge engulfed the Rockaways, the devastation was intense. You get a visceral sense of what the residents of Beach 41st Street, a New York City Housing residence, lived through in the voice of Celeste Grimes, one of the resident gardeners we interviewed for the film. She described it in apocalyptic terms.
STRENGTH IN CITIES
How can we strengthen our cities to persevere in the face of emergencies? How do we build resilience in a “new normal” of increased natural disasters? These are the topics being urgently explored by leaders, innovators and urban planners the world over.
An answer is right in front of us.
And is one you may not immediately think of. While nature destroys, nature also heals—in lasting ways. This is a phenomenon backed by science, and one supported by community stories such as Queens.
Small, mighty and purposeful.
For over two decades, we’ve worked side by side with urban communities hard-hit by stress and crime; prisons; hospitals; and cities devastated by disasters like Queens. Through this, we’ve honed a unique process for infusing Nature Sacred Places into our cities that is:
- Accessible: obtainable for urban neighborhoods to envision, create and evolve.
Open: welcoming, available to all
- Interwoven: embedded into the community it serves; sometimes small and discrete
- Meaningful: reflective of the community’s culture, history and place
- Sacred: designed for respite, renewal and to bring people together in a safe place.
- Effective: backed by science; informed by design—a process that works.
The results? A return of hope, pride. A sense of place and purpose. A cohesive, healthier community.
Here’s the good news.
You can create one in your neighborhood. Have you noticed a vacant lot? An unused pocket of space? A lack of community unity? Then you’re well on your way! We’ve got all kinds of resources to guide you along.
“It’s bringing community together. Green space connects everyone beyond socio-economic status…across religion, across color lines; it’s a place where everybody can go and everyone is equal.”