The Putting Lot is a nine-hole miniature-golf course in Brooklyn. Each hole is designed by a different team of artists and architects around themes of urban sustainability. Playing a round at the lot is an interactive experience, requiring golfers to step inside the artist’s visions and the ideas that have inspired them. Through the transformation of the lot, the construction of the holes, and a series of events held in the public area, we hope to provide a forum for discussing urban sustainability in a new context.
How did you choose the location for The Putting Lot?
The Putting Lot is located in what was once a vacant lot in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Bushwick is a great location because it is rapidly changing, like many industrial neighborhoods. A large industrial zone, a strong sense of neighborhood identity among longtime residents, and a growing art scene define this rapidly changing neighborhood. As large factories are converted from industrial manufacturing to residential lofts, a large young population has emerged in the area. This conversion in building use has also created a proliferation of vacant spaces. Vacant spaces are often places where developers, neighbors, and city workers come into conflict, but they can also be rich places for residents to imagine what they would like to see in the city. The conversion of spaces to different uses will have a big impact on Bushwick as a neighborhood. The Putting Lot proposes one use for these spaces and suggests the possibility of many more.
How long will you be open?
The Putting lot will be open for the summer of 2009. It is a temporary installation. When we vacate the space in the fall, it will likely return to its original use as a parking and storage lot. Because it is temporary, the installation will emphasize the ability of individuals to intervene in the life cycles of the vacant spaces in their own neighborhoods and to create spaces they want to see in their community.
Why did you want to open The Putting Lot?
Beyond the ideas of urban sustainability displayed in the individual holes, we want the entire project to generate discussion and re-imagine the role and the possibilities of vacant spaces in the urban fabric of the city and the fabric of an individual neighborhood. We think vacant spaces can be used in ways to help build neighborhood sustainability, as much as they can diminish it. We believe neighborhood sustainability is one of the most important aspects of urban sustainability. To help start this discussion, we will be hosting workshops during the summer focused on ways people can organize to use land differently and to have fellow residents re-imagine other spaces around the neighborhood, as they’d like to have them.
Who is involved in the putting lot?
Any one can get involved! The Putting Lot is run collectively by a diverse group of people from different educational and occupational backgrounds. The group currently includes more than 30 people working in a variety of different fields. By contributing in their individual areas of expertise; everyone has helped this ambitious project to grow from idea into reality. The group started with close friends but quickly expanded to include friends of friends and volunteers have since become an invaluable part of the organization. We are always looking for new people, so contact us if this sounds like something you would be interested in!
The course designers are equally as diverse as the organizers. Designers include gallery artists, art collectives, street artists, urban planners, engineers, architects, bike enthusiasts and students.
How does The Putting Lot function?
This is our first project as a group. We are privately funded and, we will be charging a small fee for a round of golf to try and cover the costs of operations over the summer. After an open call for submissions, The Putting Lot selected nine designs. Artists are receiving a $500 material stipend. They are graciously donating their time, effort and imagination, as each team is responsible for constructing its own design.
The use of reclaimed materials was encouraged in the design and construction of the holes and of THE PUTTING LOT’s public areas, including wooden shipping pallets from a local factory and trash-bound sails for the awnings. Golfers will play with re-used equipment purchased from a miniature golf course in Canada that was going out of business.
We are leasing the lot as a commercial business. We found the lot while wandering around the neighborhood looking at vacant spaces. Finding a space was an easy task, however, finding a landlord who agreed to our proposed use was much more difficult. Most landlords want to rent their lots for parking or storage. The project has shown us how difficult it is use space in a non-traditional way; however, our existence is one example that it can be done.
A huge thanks to everyone who got involved in The Putting Lot last summer. Unfortunately, the Lot was a one-summer project and closed for good in October 2009. The idea of The Putting Lot was to temporarily transform a vacant lot, sharing our vision of the possibilities of vacant spaces and their ability to enhance their surrounding communities.
We have been overwhelmed with the response generated by The Putting Lot. Thanks to the press, bloggers, and chatty friends for spreading the good word. We were glad that so many visitors shared their thoughts about the project after a round of golf. Your feedback helped us shape the direction of The Putting Lot over the summer and generated countless interesting conversations. People also left behind some brilliant drawings of their dream lots (to be posted here soon). We continue to receive emails from people who visited The Lot or stumbled onto our website and want to share their thoughts. If you came for a round of golf this summer or to an event, post your pictures to our flickr group or send us your reactions! This will help us in future endeavors.
Although The Putting Lot will not be in operation this summer, we hope a putting lot (or some iteration) will pop-up somewhere. We've been surprised and extremely excited that a number of people have already written us asking for tips on executing their own projects. If anyone is interested in launching a similar project, feel free to contact us. We're glad to be a resource in any way we can.