While we’ve been working with Place It! Interactive Planning for some time, we are now launching a new set of workshops with a specific landscape focus. Through these interactive model-building workshops, participants are able to explore memory and ideas of place and belonging. From there, participants work to build what they would like to see in a landscape, all the while trying to infuse those memories of place and belonging into their designs. The result is design recommendations for design teams and municipalities that not only have greater depth than what would come out of a conventional outreach process (re: merely asking people what they want) but also are the result of a more inclusive and welcoming process, as in these workshops there is no right answer, and everyone has a chance to share, not just the most vocal of the crowd.
We’ve already done landscape workshops for new parks in Oregon, Texas, and Minnesota. And we’re in the midst of doing more. Contact us!
Hot pink meets tawny gold in one of our favorite new parks, Grand Park, in Los Angeles
A new collection of essays on city parks has just come out featuring the likes of Candice Bergen writing about their favorite spaces and respites from modern urban life. It is entitled City Parks: Public Places, Private Thoughts. The ever-increasing attention on and interest in city parks no doubt corresponds to an increase in urbanization across the world. In America’s larger cities, a house with an ample yard, while once attainable and the norm to many, is increasingly becoming an unattainable luxury. Sidewalks, and city parks great and small are becoming the new front yard of the 21st century, in many ways out of necessity. For more information on the book, click here.
With ever-densifying cities, smaller yards, and the increased need for access to public greenspace, pocket parks have become all the hum and buzz within planning circles. So much of a buzz they’ve created that the corporate world now wants a piece of the proverbial pie/action. Planters (of Planters Peanuts) has recentely announced plans to transform small parcels in some of America’s densest cities (SF, NYC, New Orleans) into pocket parks called Planters Groves. To construct and maintain these greenspaces, the company will be partnering up with Corps Network, an organization that involves of 30,000 young people in cities across the country in service, training, and education. Placed within each park will be a Mr. Peanut statue sitting on a peanut bench. And a biodiesel-fueled “nutmobile” will occasionally make its way into each park in an effort to educate citizens about sustainability and transportation.
While we applaud the efforts of companies to latch on to the sustainability trend and to encourage the creation of greenspace in cities that need it, we cannot help but wonder once again why we need companies to foot the bill in the first place. We have written numerous times about crumbling public infrastructure, and other parks set to be privatized, and the fact that Americans are historically paying so little in taxes, and corporations even less. Given these realities, it seems that so many of us have bought into an alternate reality, in which it is presented as inevitable that cities and municipalities shall have no money, and that everything needs to be privatized or else we shall face certain doom. This is reality-warping kool-aid that simply should not be drunk.