City Builder Book Club: Chapter 5

Part 1: The peculiar nature of cities 

Chapter 5: The uses of neighbourhood parks 

Chapter 5, page 105 

Too much is expected of city parks. Far from transforming  any essential quality in their surroundings, far from automatically uplifting their neighbourhoods, neighbourhood parks themselves are directly and drastically affected by the way the neighbourhood acts upon them.

Chapter 5, p106

The mixture of uses of buildings directly produces for the park a mixture of users who enter and leave the park at different times.

 Chapter 5, p 12o

Cities lack minor park activities that could serve as minor “demand goods”.  Some are discoverable by observation of what people try to do if they can get away with it……spying after closing hours he found that children were sneaking in and washing and polishing their bikes there.  …The Puerto Ricans who come to our cities today and have no place to roast pigs outdoors… Kite flying is a minor activity…every city district could probably enjoy and use an outdoor park ice rink…

All this takes money.  But American cities today, under the illusions that open land is automatically good and that quantity is equivalent to quality, are instead frittering away money on parks, playgrounds, and project land-oozes too large, too frequent, too perfunctory, too ill-located, and hence dull or too inconvenient to use…

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2 thoughts on “City Builder Book Club: Chapter 5

  1. Love the pie! So true. 🙂

  2. musedemuzz says:

    I’m inclined to think many of our planners have a similar idea about parks. The fact that some open space exists is sufficient. The problem is that the open space is often in the undesirable low-lying, flood-prone areas. Honestly, think about the number of parks that go underwater easily – or the ones I see in my DA assessment.

    Similarly, they’re not always conveniently located or in the most welcoming area. They tend to be an afterthought – and only there because the planning code requires it.

    I think about the words of Jane Jacobs and Enrique Penalosa and envisage many smaller, but well located parks that are easily accessible and welcoming. We can hope.

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