Planters, famous for their peanuts and other snacks, has announced a plan to transform unused land in New Orleans, Washington, D.C., New York City, and San Francisco into “natural, green spaces” called Planters Groves. Interestingly, leading landscape architect Ken Smith, ASLA, has signed on to design these peanut-shaped urban parks made of reclaimed materials and featuring native trees and “plants from the legume family.” Each park will be designed to blend with the local feel of the city, but will include a well-positioned Mr. Peanut statue on a peanut bench (no joke).
Planters will partner with the Corps Network, which enrolls more than 30,000 urban young people in community service, training, and education, and also has a network of more than 250,000 volunteers across the country. Planters writes: “The Corps Network’s local member Corps will lead the maintenance, ongoing programming and seasonal planting with community partners.” Sally Prouty, president and CEO of the Corps Network, added: “We are excited to be working with Planters, our local member Corps and community partners and believe our work together will serve as a model of public/private partnerships.”
On top of all of this, a “sustainable” biodiesel-fueled Planters “Nutmobile” will be parked at these groves sometimes. Other times, the Nutmobile will drive through 12 cities in an effort to “grow stronger communities through volunteering.”
- Cities get new parks filled with native trees and plants, which can serve as a showcase of sustainable landscape best practices.
- The parks will be designed for public use and it sounds like will eventually be turned over to the city governments.
- The model may demonstrate that private firms and community groups can successfully come together to redevelop urban land.
- Those young volunteers may learn something about landscape architecture and remediating brownfield sites.
- Public spaces are being over-the-top “branded” by a private company, further blurring the lines between private and public domains.
- The parks will have an over-arching peanut theme. A visitor may need to enjoy peanuts to enjoy this park.
- It’s not clear whether Planters will make a long-term investment in the upkeep and maintenance of these parks. Does the city take on this expense? Who owns the park?
- Does this model ensure that urban redevelopment and revitalization serves the public? Was there community input in their siting and design?
Add your thoughts below on this sure-to-be controversial project.
Image credit: Planters