Saturday, June 30, 2007

Park As Metro Bling

WSJ (subscription required):

There's a new status symbol for American cities and it's not a soaring office tower or retro stadium. To many civic leaders, nothing says progressiveness and prosperity like an elaborate urban park.

On a scale not seen since the "City Beautiful" movement of the late 19th century, public green spaces are proliferating...

But even grass and trees can be complicated. Citizens and planners across the country are getting tied up in a larger debate about what a park should be -- one that often pits people who believe in peace and quiet and the soulful contemplation of nature against those who prefer zip lines, Frisbee golf and hang-gliding.
We've seen a little of that here in Greensboro, as not everybody finds our new Center City Park to their taste.

Maybe the park-as-status-symbol trend is what's behind city leaders' eagerness to acquire more park property just a few blocks from the new park.

But the NYT finds another common park problem:
“Parks in poorer neighborhoods are more likely to be in worse condition than parks in wealthier neighborhoods.”
I't's worth a vigorous public discussion here in Greensboro about whether public funds should be spent for another downtown park without a comprehensive look at the amenities and maintenance of parks all over the city.

As I've said before, I don't think the case for another "passive park" downtown is very strong.

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