Riga, Latvia

SPORTA PILS DĀRZI

Community gardens as the engine for placemaking, place reclaiming, and social innovation.

Sporta pils dārzi (Gardens of Sporta Pils) is a non-profit project organized by the citizens of Riga with an aim to open a once demolished ice-skating arena parcel once inactive and put it to public use. During the territory’s current active stage between 2020 and 2023 the gardens are also hosting different cultural and educational activities.

Sporta pils dārzi is a non-profit organization consisting of local activists that encourages Rigans to take an active part in the city’s development and improvement as well as to create a place for promoting a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle by creating their own gardens and try various ways how to grow their own edibles while socializing and enjoying some urban culture.

The initiators of this urban gardening concept were two local women working in the field of creative Industries and landscape architecture – Renāte Lagdziņa and Ilze Rukšāne. During the project’s first stage (autumn of 2020), with help of more than 150 community members, the territory was tidied up and adapted according to the project’s needs. In the spring of 2021, the territory was opened to the public, both to our first gardeners as well as guests. Currently, the gardens are open to the public during weekends and occasional events, and every garden owner share equal duties and responsibilities in welcoming guests, peacekeeping the area, and maintaining the garden system and its development together.

150 garden spaces are located at the street level. The mobile gardening boxes are of different sizes and heights so that they are easily accessible for everyone including people with disabilities, children, and seniors. Wildflower meadows and recreational zones are the central part of the territory available for picnics, events, lazy afternoons, and community activities.

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