Natalie Jeremijenko’s xCLINIC Prescription for Environmental Health Workshop

Written by: Nichole Rustin-Paschal

How can our community address through collective action the environmental issues that come with living in an urban environment? What tools are available for us to reimagine the city landscape as one that contributes to the vitality of our health, the re-greening of our landscape, and cheers us aesthetically? Join us Saturday as we explore these questions in conversation with Natalie Jeremijenko and local environmentalists and landscape designers. With Jeremijenko’s help, we’ll develop concepts for action to impact the environmental health of Charlottesville such as the noPark Emergency Zones.

Natalie Jeremijenko’s Environmental Health Clinic prescribes remedies for environmental stressors that impact our health and quality of life. Through microengineered green spaces, Jeremijenko’s noPark Emergency Zones tackle the problem of storm water runoff in cities. Storm water runoff, the precipitation from rain and snow that falls to the ground, flows into the sewer system, sweeping with it debris, chemicals, oil, and dirt. If not captured, the storm water runoff increases the chances of our polluting our drinking water sources. In most cities, fire hydrants are the site where storm water runoff travels into the sewer system. Jeremijenko realized that the no parking zone around those hydrants would be an ideal place to create rain gardens, allowing the storm water to soak into the ground, diverting it from the sewer system. These rain gardens are planted with grasses and flowers, which trap the pollutants and soak up storm water. Each garden is emblazoned with the clinic’s logo, a red cross, twisted at an angle. Emergency vehicles retain access to the hydrants—they can park on the green space and the plantings will regenerate.

Throughout February, The Bridge will be exhibiting Jeremijenko’s “xCLINIC” a survey of her work around re-imagining and re-designing our relationship to technology and the environment in ethical and sustainable ways.