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 was sponsored by a $25000 grant from Whole
Foods, which was administered by Council on The
Environment. Their initiative is to provide a quiet, pleasant
place for residents of the neighborhood to escape the
chaos of the city. The garden brings a sense of warmth
and community to an otherwise stark neighborhood.
What is this neighborhood like? How was it before this new
solution took place?
The neighborhood is slightly run down, but is rapidly
being renovated. Several new restaurants and shops have
been put into the neighborhood. The garden used to be a
“drug yard”, which was dangerous to the neighborhood
before it received the grant from Whole Foods.
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?
The Miracle Garden began as a dangerous, run down
“drug yard” located in a quiet neighborhood in the Lower
East Side. In 2006, Whole Foods donated a $25,000 grant
to go towards the clearing out the “drug yard” and the
building and opening of The Miracle Garden. Even after
the renovation, however, the garden was rarely open, until
a few years ago when more members began volunteering
their time and effort. Penny Evans, who recently passed
away, was responsible for taking care of the garden for
many years. The garden is currently run by Suzy Kutz and
eleven other active members.
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?
Suzy Kutz is currently the most active member of The
Miracle Garden. She visits the garden frequently to
maintain the plants and keep the benches and gathering
areas clean. She works closely with the garden’s other
eleven members, all of whom work together to promote
the use of the garden throughout the neighborhood.
According to Suzy, the garden is widely known throughout
the neighborhood and used frequently during the spring
and summer months.
What are the technologies that the group uses? How are they
used in system?
The members of the Miracle Garden keep in touch through
the use of cell phones and email. There is currently no
official website for 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 Miracle Garden is not currently being advertised
through the media. Suzy Kunz informed our group that the
garden is very well known throughout the neighborhood
by “word of mouth.”
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?
The members of The Miracle Garden would like to find
ways to keep the garden open more frequently.
Although the city waives water fees for the
maintenance of the garden, they rarely provide
additional services due to the current state of the
economy. Kunz mentioned the use of fundraisers in
the neighborhood in order to gain more money to go
towards the garden. She also mentioned the fact that
more volunteers would benefit the garden
significantly. Because all of the funding for the
garden is currently coming from its members, Kunz
mentioned the possible opening of a non-profit
organization that would financially benefit the garden.
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
Because money, as well as membership to the garden, is
limited, it is difficult for the garden’s current members to
develop the garden further. Setting up a website to
promote membership and social networking could greatly
influence the future success of the garden.
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?
Kunz mentioned being active in numerous fundraisers
throughout the Lower East Side, but none of which are in
connection with the garden.
Website of the initiative
Interviewee name and contact information (email, address, phone
Other references (websites, articles, other people we should talk to)
GreenThumb: NYC Department of Parks & Recreation
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?
Garden’s Members: 12
Recreational Buildings: 2
Clothing Stores: 1
Residential Buildings: multiple
Street Parking: ample
The garden is approximately 5,000 sq feet. It is peaceful
and quiet, blending in with this small neighborhood. It
adds aesthetic value to the neighborhood without looking
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)
It is hereby agreed by and between the parties that this
document shall constitute a general release authorizing
Parsons The New School to use the photographs, statements
and video of the undersigned subject in perpetuity, without
It is also understood that the photographs, statements
and/or videos are to be, and may be, used by Parsons for
photographic displays, exhibits, on institution’s website, and
the like, or for inclusion in any brochures, advertisements,
newspapers, newsletters or any similar activities including
print, television or electronic media, at the discretion of
Parsons The New School.
It is further understood by and between both parties to
this agreement that the undersigned subject is not to be
compensated for the use of said materials by Parsons The
New School. The execution of this document constitutes a
waiver of any rights to compensation now or in the future.
It is further understood by and between both parties to
this agreement that this written document constitutes the sum
total of all discussions, negotiations and agreements had with
respect to this release, and that this document, when
executed, represents the entire agreement and understanding
between the parties; any agreement or understanding not
contained in this document is specifically and categorically