500 Plates brought together 500 residents in Akron, Ohio from each of the city’s 22 neighborhoods at one, 500 foot-long table on the underused Innerbelt Freeway for a shared community meal.

Prior to this main meal, we collected a favorite household recipe from one resident in each of Akron’s 22 neighborhoods. These recipes were printed onto custom stoneware plates which were used at the community meal, creating a unique way to connect people from different neighborhoods. 

This event also served as a way for residents to reimagine what the underused freeway can potentially be used for, as it closes in 2016. Attendees were encouraged to write and draw their ideas on a table runner and were guided by volunteer table hosts to discuss their personal stories as well as the challenges and opportunities of their neighborhoods, public space, and the future of their city. 

Photo by Shane Wynn

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