Serviam Gardens is a 240-unit housing development for low- to middle-income senior citizens, located behind Mount Saint Ursula’s convent and girls’ high school in Bedford Park in the Bronx.
Green spaces play a crucial role in supporting urban ecological and social systems, but can often be challenging to finance as a part of affordable housing developments. desigNYC connected Robin Key Landscape Architecture with Enterprise Community Partners and Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation to design a 31,000 square foot intergenerational garden for senior residents of Serviam Gardens, an affordable housing development and its neighbor, Mount Saint Ursula’s, an all-girl’s Catholic High School.
The garden has already provided a myriad of social and health benefits to the 240 seniors at Serviam Gardens. The collaborative design process served as a community-building platform for residents, many of whom had never met prior to the design meetings. The activity of co-designing the space with Robin Key brought the residents together and the ongoing development and nurturing of the garden will continue to connect them daily through an exercise loop, community gathering spaces, an urban farm and programs with their young neighbors next door. It is a great example of how a participatory design process can accelerate community connections that will improve the quality of life for everyone involved over many years to come.
Listen to Abby Jo Sigal of Enterprise Community Partners, Robin Key of Robin Key Landscape Architecture, and Michelle Mullineaux of desigNYC, discuss Serviam Gardens on the Brian Lehrer Show.