A Story About Urban Renewal to Capture the Imaginations of Children.

Our family loves the book, The Curious Garden, by Peter Brown.


Brown tells the story of a boy living in a city without greenery where people spend all their time indoors. The hero of the story, Liam, loves being outside despite the dreariness of his surroundings. One day, he stumbles upon an abandoned railway and is astonished to find plants desperate to grow out of the old tracks. With care and attention, Liam transforms the space into a beautiful garden. The healthy plants now begin to spread, taking over city sidewalks and climbing the walls of apartment buildings. The city turns green, lush, and alive. The people come outside. They become gardeners. They decide to cooperate with nature and something magical takes place.

This story inspires my children and I because it teaches that the efforts of one small person can change the way we live.

Cities do not have to be dead, dreary places of concrete and brick.

We used to live in Somerville, Massachusetts at the end of a miles-long bike path. My husband and I walked this path almost daily. One Spring, we noticed a small ‘garden’ someone had carved out on the side of the path. Tomato plants were growing. That Spring, several gardens sprang up along the path. Whether it was the work of one person, or the idea caught on with others, I do not know. I think it probably all started with one person deciding to do something.

We can all usher in a new movement of city design and development with our own small efforts. Whether that’s joining a community garden, planting window boxes, or forming a community group to advocate for green space in your neighborhood. Whether you choose to take a small step, or a big step, one thing is certain: nature will find a way to transform your life if you let it.

Imagine Green Cities.
Imagine Green Cities.