My Fake Urban Plan for East Liberty is art and not a real urban plan. You can tell because I did not have one meeting, ask for anyone’s input, or work with any neighborhood groups. I just did it. If reality were to be inspired by the vision in my artwork- I believe Pittsburgh would become #2 nationally in green roofs.
My piece received a Juror’s award from Kathleen Zimbicki at “Urban Dreams” at Fein Art Gallery June 2010 exhibit of the Pittsburgh Society of Artists. I painted on top of an archival print of a satellite photograph, (archival printing thanks to Heiko Spallek). My urban vision featured 80 green roofs, organic gardens, pools and a lazy river moat ride around ELPC- East Liberty Presbyterian Church (architect Ralph Adams Cram).
A large outdoor film screening theater and stage is right in the middle of things. I titled the film area “Chris Ivey Summer Film Festival”. He’s been doing interesting work making documentaries about the people who live there, or lived there- and who were in many cases relocated there because of historic urban renewal and are now having reactions to the latest changes (NY Times recently described East Liberty as coming out of a 40 year coma with Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Google as tenants) in East Liberty. He’s a professional filmmaker giving people a voice. I decided to give him a big stage and a screen. Who knows, he made need to host a film festival one of these days.
A poem titled Urban Renewal by Yusef Komunyakaa is written on the frame. I also wrote words about the really big real estate snowball that plopped into Thomas Mellon’s lap with his marriage to Sarah Jane Negley-not exactly a coincidence, and this too“cows will not graze again on the liberty (English usage: a liberty is free land for grazing) but birds, butterflies and insects would graze on 80 green roofs of East Liberty, while storm water run off, building insulation and outdoor air quality would be improved by living green rooftops. East Liberty becomes Liberty Green”
This is a bit like starting a rumor- maybe hearing about 80 green roofs will become 80 green roofs!
Makes me wonder what other fake stuff I could propose that could become a reality.
Chicago is considered the leader in the US for “green” roofs.
If you take even the quickest look at this site that fact is very apparent.
Then select “map” and you see a map of Chicago with all the green roofs! It would be hard to catch them.
My thinking about green as relates to my art piece:
- East Liberty and contiguous lands were once green before all the subdivisions first created by first Jacob Negley (laid out East Liberty in 1810) and then Thomas Mellon his son-in-law.
- Liberty itself used in the British usage meant free place to graze (not from the Revolution as I had always imagined) – so I’m thinking historically it housed a bucolic cattle grazing place (apparently there was also originally North Liberty, South Liberty and West Liberty). Since now there is only East Liberty- maybe now a name change can be considered to go with the “greening of East Liberty- hence “Liberty Green“
- “Green = $”– When thinking of the financial engine that the land Thomas Mellon acquired (as a result of his marriage to Jacob Negley’s daughter Sarah Jane) became,’ it’s impressive how it fueled the many other business ventures he is more associated with.
- Green the way we think now… sustainable, energy conservation, recycled and recyclable
Contact me to purchase original or a print of it. I have an excellent high resolution scan of it.