When I posted a video about the Tenderloin National Forest the other day (see also Bonnie's visit to the Tenderloin National Forest here), I focused primarily on the injection of green space into a formerly derelict alley.
Yet as with so many community garden projects, the Tenderloin National Forest is not just about plants—it's about an alternative vision of the built environment too.
This wattle-and-daub shed, for example, sits in the Tenderloin National Forest, and is quite possibly the only earthen shelter in downtown San Francisco. Built by artist Julie Glanville, this tiny shed/art gallery was constructed primarily from reclaimed and/or locally harvested materials, included top soil from the landfill, reclaimed timbers, some sandy "Tenderloin soil" that was harvested through a hole in the basement of the Senator Hotel, and bamboo and reeds harvested from Golden Gate Park and Lake Merced.
It's true, we are unlikely to build our way to a sustainable urban environment through mass adoption of wattle-and-daub. But we are going to witness a shift in culture that starts questioning where things come from, and valuing how they are made, if more people get a chance to get their hands dirty and actually build a thing of beauty and value from supposedly "waste" materials.