Ibañez Shaw Architecture

From the Jury:

The pavilion structures and the green space in the center actually contribute to forming the space because they aren’t heavy-handed. The project is described as an oasis inside of this food desert, so that seemed like the right approach. As a landscape project, it produces a kind of urban, social, and industrial model for other communities.

In Macon, Georgia, many of the city’s most impoverished people live in the Southside district, an area that includes four of the most highly distressed census tracts in the county. As a community that struggles to gain equal education and economic opportunities, Southside Macon also falls into the category of a food desert, defined by the USDA as a place with no supermarket and no public transportation within a one-mile radius. In Southside Macon, the distance to the nearest supermarket/public transportation is more than four miles. Led by a third- generation Southside resident, the community has galvanized around an effort to combat the blight with green. Forming a community development corporation, they are dedicated to a community farm initiative, transforming underutilized properties into usable farmland.

The first phase of the South Macon Agriculture Initiative Master Plan is to take a contiguous group of properties at Southside’s core and create an urban farm campus with a focus on arts, culture, education, and heritage. A production farming plot, community garden beds, greenhouses, and an orchard will bring fresh produce to the Southside residents; they will also serve as gathering and event spaces for the community. The ONE South CDC has recognized a number of blighted, uninhabited properties in Southside Macon, which will be disassembled, salvaged, and repurposed into an open market pavilion structure adjacent to the farming plot.

The community-run project created by ONE South is intended to foster economic growth and vitality within neighborhoods of Southside Macon. This will be ground zero for the effort to transform Southside Macon into an oasis in one of Georgia’s worst food deserts.

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