Southside Community Land Trust

Providence, RI

Inclusive Garden Experience

The Southside Community Land Trust (SCLT), a nationally-renowned community garden, lies in the neighborhood of South Providence, Rhode Island. When a young neighbor who uses a wheelchair wanted to garden, the not-for-profit community trust actively addressed the property’s accessibility issues. Inclusion By Design (IBD) formed a collaborative team with local architect Peter Gil Case of Truth Box Inc, and with contributions from Andrew Arabough, Landscape Designer, to develop a design and phased implementation plan for an inclusive gardening experience and accessible educational facilities.

When completed, SCLT’s Somerset Street Headquarters will showcase an accessible landscape that accommodates the variety of physical abilities of neighborhood gardeners. Plans for the garden will feature 2 elevated beds; one accessible to a person using a wheelchair, the other bordered with transfer benches, useful to anyone needing or wanting to sit while working.

At the heart of this inclusive gardening headquarters, is an accessible kitchen. Not long ago, a small kitchen window looked out over inaccessible garden beds. Today, a French door opens onto a new deck which leads to an accessible path that winds through the outdoor education space and nearby garden, to the neighborhood sidewalk and street beyond.