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Danny Woo International District Community Garden
Seattle, Washington, 1990-1991, 1996

The Danny Woo International District Community Garden is a food-producing garden in Seattle's predominantly Asian neighborhood where residents claim pots and grow vegetables and fruits. There are more than 100 garden plots on on a steeply terraced, south-facing slope overlooking the International District. The garden serves as a source of community pride and spirit and as the site of special annual community festivities.

After a series of independent studies by UW students at the Gardens, allowing them the opportunity to work in a unique cultural and social setting within a city they already knew well and asked them to understand the different perspectives of members of this international community and to accommodate this diversity in their designs. During the two summers that the Neighborhood Studio worked in the gardens addressed the issues of the steep slope (formerly mitigated by staircases and retaining walls) these were improved by the students and the gardens added to by building an entry gateway, garden kiosks to rest in, vegetable washing areas, seating and a pig roasting area and barbecue pit.

Though the community design process was important through out, it was eventually noticed that some of the more long-time elderly gardeners were no longer tending their plots, in part due to difficulties in navigating the site. ICDA approached Neighborhood Studio with the challenge of creating a series of accessible gardens in the upper, undeveloped edge of the site, which would be easily accessible from the street above. In 1996 the studio designed and built pathways, railings, seating and raised garden beds that are sensitive to the special needs of of the elderly and embrace the unique character of the community gardens.