A community self-esteem and landscaping blog for Hartford, CT
An independent photovoice project and blog dedicated to generating conversation about self-esteem as a public health issue in Hartford and advocating for creative community landscapingand environmental design in Hartford, CT.
Ghetto greenspace, taken on the Northend of Hartford…just imagine the cinderblocks being repositioned as a work of art, painted, and the lot cleaned up with benches, trash bins, plants and trees. It would act as a temporary placement that will make anyone who passes by feel better about the space in their community.
There are many lots in our communities that can be used for community gardens, dog parks, or space where public displays of art can be appreciated. Let’s give residents an opportunity to see the beauty that’s in front of them everyday. More color and more greenery has shown to improve the self-esteem and mood of those immersed in these types of environments.
I often sit in silence and observe the environment around me. I reflect on how the environment makes me feel and how others respond to the same environment. While living in the inner city, one may encounter an environment of pure beauty just a few blocks down from an environment of chaos. I would sit in Bushnell Park, admiring the trees, the blue sky, and basking in the greenery and feel good energy around me. It’s a far contrast from the abandoned buildings that’s been vacant since I was a child, or the “less artistic” grafitti that covers signage, businesses, and light poles. I find myself trying to decipher what the symbols mean but I really don’t want to know. The broken glass and piles of dog poo on the sidewalk and streams of car fluid pouring from driveways reminds me of what may be contaminating our water supply. Intravenous needles, dirty used condoms, and stripped cars invade abandoned lots. It makes me think “I can’t wait to afford to move out of here”. Seriously, is that fair?
Is it fair for individuals to have to pick up and leave the inner city because the collective population lacks the pride and self-esteem that matters in the city’s quality of life?
Quality of life has always been a public health issue, but what about the lack of HIGH self-esteem. Low self esteem leads us to make poor decisions, and just when we think we are “doing us” and it will not affect anyone else, it affects every aspect of our community.
In my experience working with youth in a literacy program, I found that the most violent and disruptive children could barely read at their grade level. I often had flash futures of these individuals and it didn’t look too good. I often had to work more on character building skills than reading skills. I’ve had to focus on conflict resolution, compromise, anger management, coping with death, physical activity, and how it matters for the well-being of not just one individual but everyone who encounters that individual.
Could it be? Could the lack of self esteem contribute to the degradation of a community. When people think of Hartford, they think of drugs, thugs, teen pregnacy, poverty, illiteracy, and I’m sure there’s a few more to add to that. Are we partly responsible? How we treat our community and our neighbors is a reflection of how we really feel about ourselves.
High cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, obesity, addiction, depression, decline in mental well-being; all are outcomes of what inner degradation can do. Crime, child abuse, violence are the outward instances of low self esteem.
So, Hartford, let’s get real here. In order for us to begin to campaign for a program similar to that of a Alcholics Anonymous for building self-esteem, community landscape, and pride in our city and ourselves, we need to admit that we have a problem.
Hartford, we have low self-esteem. Now, what’s next?