What do they do? (Description of service idea, e.g. a
community garden, a food coop, etc). What are the demands/
problems this initiative responds to? What is the aim of the
initiative? What happens and how does it happens? What
benefits does it bring to the neighborhood?
The garden currently serves as a social gathering space for
elderly Hispanic locals. The garden is valuable to the
community as many in the area do not have a outdoor space of
their own. Members of the garden meet there after work during
the week and in the afternoon during the weekend to chat, play
cards, cook and eat. The garden is beneficial as as it solidifies
the culture of the neighborhood, which due to major
gentrification in the last 10 years has priced out a lot of the long
What is this neighborhood like? How was it before this new
solution took place?
The Lower East Side has been an ethnic neighborhood since
the settlement of Manhattan. Initially the LES was occupied by
dutch settlers, later jewsih immigrants and then in the 1960’s it
became primarily a puerto rican neighborhood. In the last 10
years condos, gourmet restaurants and boutiques have come
in to the area and have gentrified the LES. This has alienated
many low income members of the community, due to this the
garden is especially valuable to long term residence of the
1.3 History of the initiative
How did the project/initiative start? Who took the initiative? Why?
Can you describe a timeline of events, highlighting success and failure aspects, major
milestones? How far can you go back? How did this initiative mature? How did it turn to
be a real enterprise? (registered, formalized etc.) Did it receive public or private support
of any kind? Did it help change the public or policy structure?
Prior to the initiative the garden was an abandoned lot with a
poorly maintained shack. The city acquired the land in the
1960’s and in 1993 it was turned into a Green Thumb
community garden. It has been utilized by the local Hispanic
community for more than 20 years and it was not until recently
that members of the garden requested a neighbor, Wendy
Weston, to help plant and improve the garden. The garden
currently is privately funded by Wendy and she is searching for
other donators. Unfortunately new members of the community
with the financial means to help have not shown interest in
participating since they already have their own recreational
spaces such as roof tops and yards.
1.4 Main actors
Who are the users of this initiative? Who are the promoters of this initiative? Is there a
difference between users and promoters or are they basically the same? Describe users
and promoters lifestyles?
Do the users work as a group or groups? Is there a network of related organizations and/
or individuals? Do they have any form of connection or exchange with other similar
initiatives? Was the group inspired by other examples? Do you know counter examples,
(of service ideas that did not take-off), cases that went wrong?
The users of the initiative are mainly elderly Hispanic locals and
Wendy Weston. Occasionally, their families join them on
weekends for barbecues an other social activities.
Wendy Weston has taken upon herself to help develop the
garden through her personal funding and is currently searching
for outside funding.
What are the technologies that the group uses? How are they
used in system?
Since they have only just recently started the garden
renovation they do not possess any type of technologies other
than shovels, hoes and raised beds but they are looking
forward to developing the garden.
What communication materials do the group have? (e.g.
website, brochures, postcards, etc). What is the main purpose
of these materials? e.g. to keep participants updated about
activities (internal communication) or to get more participants
(external communication)? Does the group want to have more
The main communication source is word of mouth. However,
they stay updated with the LES community garden office and
the primary members of the garden communicate with
outsiders via the phone and through Wendy Weston.
1.7. Perspective for the future
What are the perspective/objectives of the group for the next
3-5 years? What are some of the success factors and possible
risks in the short medium and long term?
They intend to completely renew the garden with plants,
flowers, a bocce court, vegetable garden, benches, a barbecue
space and a sand pit for children to make it a pleasant and safe
1.8. Problems and opportunities
Are there any specific issues/problems/barriers that pose
threats to the initiative? Are there any main areas of concern
among the participants (leaders and users alike)? Are there any
opportunities that could be explored (that are currently not
Currently, the main obstacle for the garden is funding and lack
of participants to help in the renewal of the space. The other
problem they have is the soil which is underutilized and also
needs to be dug up and turned since it is not fertile any longer.
Moreover, with the garden facing North and the surrounding
buildings, it does not get very important lighting and sun.
The members of the garden are also concerned that they will
lose their sense of belonging to the neighborhood with the
increased gentrification taking place.
1.9. Indications of other social innovation
Do the users participate in other entrepreneurial endeavors? Do they form
small initiatives on their own? Are members involved in other
“sustainable” services within the community? (Ex. Food Co-op,
carpooling, community gardens, etc)? Do you see evidence of wider
networks that these users contribute to?
The garden does not work as an enterprise. As a consequence,
it is not involved in any kind of additional sustainable services.
It does not seem to be taking part in a wider network.
Website of the initiative
Interviewee name and contact information (email, address, phone
Other references (websites, articles, other people we should talk to)
Main current contact: Wendy Weston
Lucindo Castro – (212) 254 5220
Elizabeth Moran – (917) 406 1515
Community of the LES office: (212) 788 8070
Quantitative Data Exercise
How many members does the initiative have? How many are very active
in the initiative? How does individual spaces compare with shared/group
spaces? How many members are involved in other community-based
services? (Food Co-op, activist orgs, clothes swapping, bike sharing, etc.)
What is the size of the initiative in square footage?
There are three official members to this garden, however a
number of other people come and use the space, mainly
friends of the members or other neighbors who join for
barbecues or use it as a storage area.
The garden is about 20 by 75 square feet.
Please take close-up detailed photos due to the
winter conditions of gardens (ex. Buds, small
greenery, tools, gathering spaces, colorful
Photos may ONLY be taken with a high
megapixel digital camera (no iphone photos or
low resolution photos)
Choose highest picture quality setting that
Always ASK permission before taking photos or
footage of people and/or spaces
See Release Form on the final page of this
document. You MUST have Release Form(s)
signed by the photo/footage subject.
1.1 The general context (e.g. landscape, urban area, etc)
1.2 The close context (e.g. the neighbourhood, etc)
1.3 The place from outside (e.g. building, house, etc)
1.4 The entrance (e.g. signage, access door or gate, etc)
1.5 The place from inside (e.g. dedicated room, private places,
gazebo, pond, planting areas, recreational areas, etc)
2.1 Two to three typical users (show them in different
situations, e.g. portrait/standing, in-action, etc)
2.2 The organiser/provider (portrait/standing, in-action, etc)
2.3 Show something characteristic of the user’s motivation to
2.4 Show the key participants in the service/organization (e.g.
leaders, gatekeepers, organizers, connectors, innovators, etc)
3. Material Artifacts
3.1 Show communication materials of the organization
(leaflets, signage, etc)
3.2 Could you show essential objects that users interact with,
or that provide key moments in the service?
3.3 Could you show evidence of entrepreneurial work by users
or providers? Show intangible/tangible innovations created by
users or providers.
4.1 Could you show participant benefits? organiser benefits?
collective benefits? environmental benefits? economical
5. Perspectives for the future
5.1 Could you show the future perspectives of the solution?
Please take footage of the following:
The person/people you are interviewing. Ask them to introduce
themselves, their role in the organization, and a brief description
of the organization (30 sec)
A brief history of the organization (15-30 sec)
A typical activity taking place in the space including participants
of the organization (30 sec-1 min)
Participants of the organization interacting with each other (30
Participants of the organization interacting with the space/props/
objects (30 sec)
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