Las Parcelas and Colobo Community Gardens

Las Parcelas is a vibrant community garden that is part of the ongoing revitalization of the Norris Square neighborhood and park. In the mid 1980s, a group of local women, tired of drug dealers and blight, began transforming a derelict vacant lot into an urban oasis called Las Parcelas (literally "parcels"). What was once a haven for drug dealers now boasts vegetable and flower garden plots, an outdoor kitchen serving traditional Puerto Rican food, a mural and a colorfully painted 1940s-style casita. Led by Iris Brown, that original group of women activists now call themselves Grupo Motivos, and they continue to create beautiful urban gardens in and around Norris Square that represent aspects of Puerto Rican culture and identity, provide communal gathering spaces, and create service and recreational opportunities for local youth.

Colobo, across Palethorp Street, is an African-themed garden that recognizes and celebrates the African roots of Puerto Ricans. Iris and Grupo Motivos worked with local gardeners, teenagers and visiting Ghanaian gardeners to design the space, which features three painted mud houses and indigenous African plantings.

For Iris, who came from a small town in rural Puerto Rico, the African garden is a way to investigate what her African/Puerto Rican heritage means in the urban United States. Colobo explores the shared African-Caribbean heritage in a city where racial tension defines so much of the urban experience, and in a neighborhood where the Latino and African American communities have not always found common ground.

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North 2nd St. btw Susquehanna and Dauphin; entrance on Palethorp between Susquehanna and Dauphin

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Greater Northern Liberties/Lower North Philadelphia

Mt. Tabor African Methodist Church Marshall Street curb market Marshall Street pushcarts mural Emmanuel Full Gospel Temple sign Exterior G. A. Bisler Paper and Box Company factory Brown St above 4th St. St. Agnes-St. John's Nepomucene Roman Catholic Church Northwest Corner of Bodine and Fairmount Ave Holy Trinity Romanian Orthodox Church North Second Street corridor Garden Looms façade Saint Michael’s and Northern Liberties Rec Center, Three Men Talking 423 Fairmount Avenue Philip Kearny School Concilio building Friends Neighborhood Guild building, 151 Fairmount Ave. Richard Allen Homes Guild House building, 1967 Edgar Allan Poe National Historical Site Building of the German Society Wedding Party, Saint Andrew’s Orthodox Church Thomas Mifflin School Ortlieb’s Remains (Liberty Lands in Winter) Madison Court, 1988 Adams & Keen, Factory Kaplan’s Bakery Philadelphia Glass Works Orianna Hill Park Crane, Demolition of the Tannery Cigar Factory Loft exterior Becker Building Gretz Brewery Salvation Army and Historical Marker Crane Co. building sign Al-Aqsa Islamic Society building "A Full and Complete Account of the Late Awful Riots in Philadelphia": Burning of St. Michael's Church, on Wednesday afternoon, May 8 Don Quixote statue Schmidt's Brewery and Tower St. Peter the Apostle Roman Catholic Church Stetson Hat Company factory, Building 15 Stores on North 5th Street Taller Puertorriqueño Congreso de Latinos Unidos Casita North Mascher Street casita Tomasita Romero and Iris Brown Norris Square, Hancock and Diamond Streets Ukranian Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception St. Nicholas Eastern Orthodox Church Bull's Head Tavern
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