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Drexel Students Design Urban Garden for West Philly Seniors

June 13, 2012

Urban garden designed by Drexel students
Drexel students designed an urban garden for the Mantua Presbyterian Apartments

Mantua just got a little bit greener! An urban garden, called the “Healthy Outdoor Garden Oasis,” created by students from Drexel University and sponsored by the Drexel University Office  for Community Initiatives, is now open at the Mantua Presbyterian Apartments, a HUD Section 202 senior housing community of Presby’s Inspired Life.

For the past few months, 19 students enrolled in Drexel’s Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design’s Architecture + Interiors program participated in designing, fabricating, coordinating and building the garden, which creates a therapeutic urban oasis for senior residents of the affordable housing building. The residents also offered input on the garden’s design and creation.

A ribbon-cutting will mark the garden’s official opening on Monday, June 18, 2012, from 5 p.m. – 7 p.m. at the Mantua Presbyterian Apartments (600 – 618 N. 34th Street, Philadelphia). Representatives from Drexel, Presby’s Inspired Life and HUD will be present at the event, along with Drexel students and residents of Mantua Presbyterian Apartments.
Student Elena Destefano works on the urdan garden for the Mantua Presbyterian Apartments

“This project was an incredible opportunity for students to get hands-on experience – not only in designing something, but in bringing that design to life,” said Diana Nicholas, a professor in the Department of Architecture + Interiors. “It also allowed the students to interact with seniors and learn about the needs of aging. One of the goals of the project was to encourage seniors to be more active and enjoy the outdoors, and the students were able to meet this need by incorporating garden pathways for residents to stroll outside.”

“This garden creates a beautiful urban oasis for our senior residents of Mantua Presbyterian Apartments that will provide them with many therapeutic benefits,” said Melissa Jackson-Deeble, manager of Mantua Presbyterian Apartments. “We are extremely grateful to Diana Nicholas, the students and the entire Drexel University community for their many talents and friendship.”

The project was made possible by a $20,000 Drexel University Community Research Grant awarded to faculty. The project is being co-sponsored by the Office of University and Community Partnerships, Lindy Center for Civic Engagement, Pennoni Honors College and the Office of Research.

Opened in 2008 in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia, Mantua Presbyterian Apartments is a 66-unit affordable housing building for seniors of low income, developed by Presby’s Inspired Life, a Lafayette Hill-based provider of continuing care and affordable housing for seniors. The building is a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 202 project.

Media Contact:

Alex McKechnie

amckechnie@drexel.edu

215-895-2705