A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] Spacing with Adrian Benepe on the changing nature of parks

Spacing’s Jake Tobin Garrett interviews one Adrian Benepe on how parks work in the 21st century city.

JTG: Your work at the Trust for Public Land really takes you across the United States. What are some of the inspiring actions you’ve come across that may not get as much media attention as the High Line and other high-profile park projects?

AB: What I’m seeing is a lot of community-based, small-scale, often even pop-up, interventions. Particularly in crowded cities where real estate acquisition costs are high. Maximizing the use of public spaces by creating multiple benefit public spaces.

In many cities, you’re seeing people converting part-time schoolyards into fulltime community playgrounds. And that’s particularly important in cities that are very densely developed, where you don’t have any more open land to develop into parks. In the conventional model, schoolyards were only used by students during the school day and were locked up in the afternoons, weekends, and holidays. In the new model—something the Trust for Public Land has been doing in a number of cities—you upgrade the schoolyard with the proviso that it must be open to the public anytime it’s not used by the school. So that gives you a very quick and inexpensive ability to create more and better public space.

The other thing you’re seeing is the adapted reuse of marginal lands, of brownfields, former factories, abandoned rail lines, abandoned piers. That’s something that’s common across America. And, in fact, as you know, is common in Canada as well.

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Written by Randy McDonald

December 19, 2016 at 7:15 pm

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