LAND – Change of Consciousness

March 31st, 2016 by admin Categories: ATL City Farms Project Atlanta Featured Public History Programming Random One Response

Change of Consciousness – On the precipice of gentrification. FREE THE LAND.

Tonight I was speaking with a sisterfriend mentor and while updating her on the project, I finally digested the meaning of FREE THE LAND.



Before tonight, in other conversations about the land development, urban farm project, two other people have responded with the phrase FREE THE LAND.

Over the last 30 days I have delved deep into the process. This is the deal.


As per the historic record, for over fifty years during the 20th century, this was the familial home of a woman painter, printmaker. My mind can barely imagine the various scenes which transpired in this space to explain what has happened over the course of 20 years, that marks the time between 2016 and when the artisan matriarch left this dwelling to make her transition to join the ancestors. Just yesterday I saw a mid century photograph of the living room…

Yet amid the rubble are remnants of grandeur. Back to nature, this grand pile of debris has been colonized by opossum.  For our purposes, we will work from the presumption that wildlife habitats benefit the ecological balance of the urban ruin environment. 

Hindsight is 20/20

So was it false bravado that enticed me to accept this project? Location, history, value, eccentricity: All of the above?


Daydreaming I imagine that the real estate advertisement that lured me to this project would read:

“Expand Your Horizons. Affordable tear down envisioned strictly as land acquisition, purposed for urban farm development initiative. Structural architectural characteristics include…”

Open Masonry Porch; Corinthian columns; high pitch front gable; single frame, triple 6 light double sash windows;


Brick masonry fireplace;

Built in 1930 the brick work has withstood fire, rain, wind. For as long as neighbors can recall, this house has been in despair.


Steadily collapsing, a mountain of debris threatening to spill across the property line. FREE THE LAND.



Brick masonry pier supports;

With scaffold technology and careful demolition clean up removal, the brick masonry piers, perhaps the columns and a few other things could be salvaged.

The demolition process…many site visits.

Estimates: this project requires several. Hat, boots and other apparel considerations are required for site visits, because the location is raw. The bids are all over the board and are complimented by my angst ridden responses, including involuntary consideration sessions in the wee hours of the night. At this moment, the dental night guard is required. A restful night sleep would include a nifty dream sequence, where our project is adopted by an Architecture or Engineering professor as the perfect field study research project, tailor made for their favorite class or TA.

Fun, Fun, Fun. 


Lattice wall insulation; 5 panel oak doors; crystal door knobs;

Extensive exposure to temperature extremes, wind and rain.


15 light oak wood french door; glass and hinges intact; Blue skies;


1930s 6 light lead glass window frame;


After getting cited by COA code enforcement in February, this architectural beauty has commanded my love, attention, requiring that become intimately acquaintanced with a sundry of associated COA agencies and bureaus. Inspections, applications, waivers, permits, learning so much, navigating the City Hall Shuffle.


Site surveys, neighbors, on the ground, in the community, there is so much illegal dumping. Arduous and complex, this is a massive clean up project. Afterward we plant out the grounds to restore ph balance, cleanse and encourage a healthy soil revolution. 


73% rubble. Every rain episode increases the rate of collapse. Moments spent at the site have stirred a lot of emotions. Paramount is sadness.

The day that I met our border neighbor, after introducing myself and explaining our plans, I apologized for the condition of the eyesore. Documenting the survey with my camera, it was important for my spirit to acknowledge and recognize this dilemma. Eyesore implies a visual assault or imposition upon one’s sensibilities. In this case physical encroachment threatens the surrounding environment further in the wake of every rain event. Although we are not the cause of this debacle, it saddens me, that in the U.S., Black folk can live next door to a hill of construction debris. Unfortunately this is not the only instance of this type of environmental travesty happening on the urban landscape. 


Message left in wet cement.


Visioning in the Westside of Atlanta.

Sustainability, good health and solidarity. 

On the precipice of gentrification.




Changing blight into light, one step at a time. 


Please share freely. 


  1. mario peter says:

    Was hoping to meet you at the pastors for peace event this past evening. Interested in Cuba travel in 2017