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robertogreco : parks   56

Why we have grass lawns - Curbed
"With the invention of mechanical mowing, the lawn no longer required a small army of groundskeepers, and the once-unattainable lawn of the moneyed classes became available to the middle classes, which were now buying and building homes along streetcar lines outside of the city, in the first suburbs. The density of these suburbs relative to their later counterparts kept these lawns rather small, and the largest lawns tended to belong to those with large houses, keeping the big, grassy expanse aspirational.

With the massive car-based sprawl of the postwar era, the modern grassy, treeless lawn came into its own. The lawn, at this point, became part of American suburban culture: white and middle class, inextricable from the mundanities of conventional nuclear family life and the act of childrearing. Cold War paranoia placed a larger emphasis on surveillance in child-rearing, and the fenced-in, treeless backyard made it easier for parents to keep a continuous, watchful eye on their children.

Perhaps the most pervasive myth of the lawn is the oft-touted idea that lawns and fenced-in, grassy backyards are somehow safer or better for the activities of children than any alternative. This belief comes from a place of fear and isolationism. It subtly admonishes the decisions of non-suburban parents and erases the experiences of those children who grow up in the city or in rural areas. The idea that the woods or the city are unsafe for children is silly, as children have grown up in these environments for as long as people have lived in them. Rather than equipping children with the knowledge they need to be independent and adaptable to these environments, the de facto logic has been to eliminate all risk by only allowing children to play in a closed-off patch of turf grass.

Urban children may not have lawns, but they have public parks where they interact with other children from diverse backgrounds. Children (myself included) who grow up in rural places or near or in the woods are raised with information about the hazards of such environments and are taught the skills necessary to be self sufficient, such as plant and animal identification, navigation, first aid, and outdoor preparedness. The idea that children need a lawn, a cultural invention of the postwar era, is absurd.

Lawn care and horticulture are powerful industries whose future profits rely on the endurance of these myths and the persistent advance of sprawl. Many folks who enjoy the feeling of tending to land that the lawn gives them might scowl at me. The good news for people reading this and saying “what can I do?” is that wonderful alternatives to lawns are gaining momentum.

In desert climates, the most absurd places to have a lawn, xeriscaping—cultivating yards using native plants that require little irrigation—is becoming more and more popular because it saves time and resources. For others, taking space away from lawns and giving it to pollinator gardens, edible gardens, and vegetable beds, as well as gardening only with native plants that require much less fuss to keep alive, are great alternatives to the tyranny of the lawn, alternatives that not only save time, effort, resources, and money, but are good for the environment as well. Getting rid of turf grass and replacing it with native grasses, prairie, or whatever natural ground cover happens to be inherent to the place you live and that doesn’t require fertilization, pesticide use, or mowing is a great start. Allow native trees to grow, remove any invasive plants (sorry, folks, that means English ivy) from your yard, and the results will soon bear fruit, whether literally or figuratively, through the return of songbirds and pollinators to your outdoor space.

If you’re at all concerned about climate change and what you can do to help make the world a more habitable place for the millions of plants, animals, and people that live here, start by getting rid of your turf grass."
multispecies  plants  lawns  climate  ecology  monoculture  suburbia  2019  katewagner  cities  urban  urbanism  sustainability  xeriscaping  horticulture  children  safety  parks  cars 
may 2019 by robertogreco
What It Would Take to Set American Kids Free | The New Yorker
"My trip coincided with the publication of “The Anti-Helicopter Parent’s Plea: Let Kids Play!” in the Times Magazine, a masterful bit of parental trolling whose comment section reached a symbolic two thousand and sixteen entries before it was closed. The dozens of adventure playgrounds in Tokyo offer, as a public amenity, what Mike Lanza (the “anti-helicopter parent” in question) says he created in his private Menlo Park, California, back yard: a challenging and unscheduled place for physical play that is largely free of parental supervision. Lanza is far from alone in believing that American children have a play problem. Take a look at Lenore Skenazy’s Free-Range Kids blog, which is peppered with reports of cops and child-protective services being called when parents leave their kids to play unsupervised. Lanza’s own book, “Playborhood,” describes the kids-can’t-play problem as both a social one and a spatial one. Without broader community support, such back-yard attempts at free play like his are doomed to become exercises in vanity. Look at them on the roof! My kids are more resilient than yours!

The overprogrammed, oversterilized, overprotected lives of (some of) America’s youth are the result of a nexus of changes to work life, home life, and street life that have made bringing up babies into a series of consumer choices, from unsubsidized day care forward. It is the public realm—where the Tokyo playgrounds operate—that needs to change for American children to have unstructured afternoons and weekends, for them to bike and walk between school and the playground, to see packs of kids get together without endless chains of parental texts. Kawasaki City, where Kodomo Yume Park is located, created its own Ordinance on the Rights of the Child, in 2001, which includes an article promising to make “secure and comfortable places for children.”

But independence requires infrastructure. Hanegi Playpark was founded in 1975 by Kenichi Omura, a landscape architect, and his wife Shoko Omura, an English teacher. They translated the key book on adventure play into Japanese and then travelled to Europe to meet with the woman who was their prime mover from the nineteen-fifties on: Lady Allen of Hurtwood. Lady Allen had seen the first such “junk playground” in Emdrup, outside Copenhagen, where it became a refuge for youth then under German occupation. She spent subsequent decades as a “propagandist for children’s play.” In Tokyo, a low crime rate and a society accustomed to community ownership of public space has created, around Hanegi and approximately thirteen other such parks, a city where there is more room for innocent error.

The road to Kodomo Yume Park (which means “children’s dream”) was narrow and winding, and there was no sidewalk for much of the way. And yet it was safe, because the tiny cars knew to look for pedestrians and cyclists, and drove at slower speeds. There were people in the houses and stores along the route, and few of the buildings were more than three or four stories tall, offering “eyes on the street” as well as adults who might be appealed to for help. The neighborhood, like the adventure playground, operated as a safety net, ready in case of trouble but not often deployed. A mother who was camped out at Yume Park with five children, the youngest a three-month-old, told me a story—hilarious for her—that would have been a nightmare for me. Her two-year-old, who had observed his five-year-old brother being sent to the corner to buy bread, decided he could do the same, and turned up at the shop with an empty wallet. I looked around at the protected bike lanes, the publicly funded playground workers, and the houses where people are home in the afternoon. Do I wish that my kids—who are five and nine**—**could roll on their own from school to the park, meet friends, and appear on the doorstep at 5 p.m., muddy, damp, and full of play? I do, but then I think of the Saturdays dominated by sports schedules, the windswept winter playgrounds, the kids hit by cars in crosswalks, with the light. It isn’t the idea of my kids holding a hammer or saw that scares me but the idea of trying to make community alone.

At the adventure playgrounds, the kids build the equipment they need under the hands-off supervision of play workers trained to facilitate but not to interfere. I’ve read the diary of the first play worker, John Bertelsen, who ran the adventure playground that Lady Allen visited at Emdrup. His account of the day-to-day in 1943 sounds quite similar to what I observed in 2016.
At 10:45 am today the playground opened . . . We began by moving all the building material in the open shed. Bricks, boards, fireposts and cement pillars were moved to the left alongside the entrance, where building and digging started right away. The work was done by children aged 4 to 17. It went on at full speed and all the workers were in high spirits; dust, sweat, warning shouts and a few scratches all created just the right atmosphere. The children’s play- and work-ground had opened, and they knew how to take full advantage of it.

The do-it-yourself rule is, to a certain extent, self-limiting, as towers built with simple tools are shorter than those ordered from catalogues. I saw plenty of children up on roofs—the rule was, if you can climb up without a ladder, relying on your own strength and ingenuity, it’s O.K. In a documentary on The Land, a Welsh adventure playground, a play worker describes the difference between risk and hazard: a risk you take on knowingly; a hazard is unexpected, like a nail sticking out of a board. The play workers are there to remove hazards and leave the risks.

Journalism about adventure play tends to emphasize the danger, but these spaces actually need to be seen as exceptionally porous community centers, in which lots of social activities, for parents and children, occur. “Risky play” is a way for children to test their own limits, and because the parks are embedded in residential communities they can do so at their own pace. Hitoshi Shimamura, who runs the organization Tokyo Play, told me that he has sessions to teach parents to use the tools, because their fear derived from their own lack of experience. Kids also need time to ease into the freedom and figure out which activity most appeals to them. If adventure play were to become permanent in New York, it would do better as a permanent fixture in a neighborhood than as a weekend destination. At a temporary adventure playground set up by Play:Ground on Governors Island this summer, a sign on the fence read, “Your children are fine without advice and suggestions,” though legally, children under six had to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

The “adventure” can be with water, with tools, with real fire, or just with pretend kitchen equipment, allowing the parks to appeal to a broad array of children, and over a longer period of time. What this means, in practice, is a range of activity during days, weeks, or even years. In the morning, adventure playgrounds become settings for an urban version of a forest preschool, where small children learn the basics of getting along outdoors. In the afternoon, they become a place for older kids to let off steam between school and homework; many communities in Tokyo play a public chime at five in the afternoon—a mass call that is it time to go home. On the weekends, Yume Park might ring with the hammers of children, but for teen-agers there are other options: a recording studio with padded walls; a wooden shed piled with bike parts for the taking; a quiet, shaded place for conversation. Bertelsen wrote in his diary,
Occasionally, complaints have been made that the playground does not possess a smart enough appearance, and that children cannot possibly be happy playing about in such a jumble. To this I should only like to say that, at times, the children can shape and mould [sic] the playground in such a way that it is a monument to their efforts and a source of aesthetic pleasure to the adult eye; at other times it can appear, to the adult eye, like a pigsty. However, children’s play is not what the adults see, but what the child himself experiences.

One of my favorite moments in Tokyo occurred late one afternoon at a smaller adventure playground, Komazawa Harappa, a long sliver of space in a tight residential neighborhood, masked from the street by a simple hedge. Three kids fanned the flames in a fire pit; a baby padded about a dirty pool dressed in a diaper; two small boys, hammering on a house, had remembered to take their shoes off on the porch. But not everyone felt the need to be busy. Two teen-age girls had climbed up on the roof of the play workers’ house, via a self-built platform of poles and planks, and seemed deep in conversation. Suddenly, they began to sing, their clear voices ringing out over the open space."
alexandralange  children  unschooling  deschooling  community  2016  infrastructure  parks  playgrounds  adventureplaygrounds  risk  risktaking  hazards  japan  parenting  openstudioproject  messiness  johnbertelsen  kenishiomura  ladyallen  emdrup  copenhagen  tokyo  kodomoyumepark  srg  urban  urbanism  play  lenoreskenazy  hanegiplaypark  tools  dirt  order  rules  mikelanza  supervision  safety  independence  us  shokoomura  diy  risklyplay  lcproject  tcsnmt  sfsh 
september 2018 by robertogreco
The Tables on Vimeo
"A look at the powerful connection between a pair of outdoor ping pong tables in the heart of New York City and the unlikely group of people they’ve brought together, from homeless people to investment bankers to gangbangers."

[via: ]
film  documentary  tabletennis  pingpong  2018  nyc  parks  publicspaces  bryantpark 
september 2018 by robertogreco
Engaging Children in the Park Planning Process | Health and Wellness | Parks and Recreation Magazine | NRPA
"In planning and designing new facilities, park and recreation agencies typically seek public input through a meeting or a series of meetings. Having hosted and participated in many such meetings as a park planner, I believe they may not be the most effective way to obtain input that reflects all segments of communities and their diverse viewpoints. Children (under 18 years of age), for example, are often underrepresented or not represented at all. This is certainly alarming but not entirely surprising, considering that the formal or rigid nature of most public meetings can intimidate and discourage kids of all ages from openly sharing their ideas and thoughts.

Given that children are key park users and parks contribute significantly to their development and quality of life, we must be intentional and creative in how we engage them in the planning and design of parks. An important lesson I have learned over the years is that children have much to say about parks and have valuable insights to contribute. The challenge then is for us to engage them in ways that encourage and empower them to share their ideas and to actively participate in existing and future planning and design processes.

Voting for Park Features and Activities
Many kids today are tech savvy and most have their own smartphones. One way to effectively engage them is to have an activity during a community meeting that allows them to vote for their favorite park features (like a basketball court) and recreational activities (like skateboarding). This may be done using special mobile devices or smartphones, with participants being shown images of various park features and activities, and then being able to select the ones that appeal to them the most.

This approach was part of the process used to develop the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan, which involves the conversion of the nation’s second-largest landfill into a regional park. Voting using sticker dots was also done on a large scale for the Los Angeles Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment as children and adults voted for their top 10 park projects in communities across the county. Although this method might be more old school, it was still a good way to determine a community’s park priorities.

Drawing and Building Dream Parks
The traditional public meeting tends to be dominated by a few loud voices, eager to share their opinions with everyone. To truly engage kids, meetings need to be more fun and interactive. Providing art supplies and allowing younger children to draw their favorite dream or ideal park is one way to do this. This type of activity not only encourages them to be creative and share their ideas visually, but it also helps parents to more freely participate in the meeting without having to worry about their children. For the Master Plan for Sustainable Parks and Recreation planning process, time was set aside toward the end of meetings for children to present their drawings. This helped to create an overall hopeful and positive feeling for all participants. Yet another way to engage kids is to provide them with toy blocks and other random materials they can use to build model parks. For example, planner and artist James Rojas’ interactive planning approach through the use of model building has proven successful in engaging the public, especially kids, and encouraging innovative city-making. Having had first-hand experience in a
Rojas-led exercise, I know this approach empowers participants by allowing them to shape and share visions in a supportive environment without the fear of providing a wrong answer.

Touring Parks
Sociologist Frederik Polak once said, “The future may well be decided by the images of the future with the greatest power to capture our imaginations and draw us to them, becoming self-fulfilling prophecies.” To enable children to see what is possible, they need to be exposed to a wide variety of park and recreation destinations. This is especially true for kids growing up in underserved communities with very few parks and lacking the means to travel to places outside of their immediate neighborhoods. As part of our various planning efforts, we organized tours for children to visit and experience parks in other areas. For example, during the Belvedere Skate Park’s design process, our department took young East Los Angeles skateboarders on a tour of various skateparks to see which design features they would like at their own skatepark. Also, for the Puente Hills Landfill Park Master Plan, many youths participated in an organized hike to the top of the landfill so they could experience what it would be like to have a regional park there in the future.

Visiting Schools
In addition to hosting meetings with activities that engage children and offering tours of parks, it is also important to visit children where they are and where they spend most of their time — at their schools. This requires coordination with and the cooperation of local school districts and/or principals, but it is well worth the effort. As part of the Florence-Firestone Community Parks and Recreation Plan, a middle school allowed us time to conduct a survey of its students to better understand their needs and preferences with respect to park and recreation programs. We also asked the students to illustrate their ideal park and came away with some wonderful pieces of art that were incorporated into the plan.

To meet the growing and diverse needs of communities, park and recreation agencies must effectively reach out to and collaborate with existing and future park users in the planning and design of recreational facilities. We must plan and design parks with, rather than for, children."
children  parks  planning  urbanplanning  urban  urbanism  clementlau  2018  howto 
august 2018 by robertogreco
Scenes Unseen: The Summer of ’78 - The New York Times
"Six months ago, a conservancy official cleaning out an office came across two cardboard boxes that had been sitting around for decades.

Inside were 2,924 color slides, pictures made in parks across New York City’s five boroughs late in the summer of 1978. No one had looked at them for 40 years.

Here are multitudes.

Until now, none of these images have ever been displayed or published. A selection of them are here and in a special print section. More will be on view from May 3 through June 14 at the Arsenal Gallery in Central Park, 830 Fifth Avenue, near 64th Street.

These images were the work of eight staff photographers whose pictures normally ran in The New York Times, but who were idled for nearly three months in 1978 by a strike at the city’s newspapers.

Not long after the strike began that August, a contingent of the photographers — Neal Boenzi, Joyce Dopkeen, D. Gorton, Eddie Hausner, Paul Hosefros, Bob Klein, Larry Morris, and Gary Settle — met with Gordon J. Davis, the city parks commissioner.

They proposed to wander the city and make pictures of the parks and the people in them.

No one holds a smartphone.

Life, uncurated.

“I was skeptical,” Mr. Davis said, “but what they came back with made me cry.”

The city was a financial ruin and stuff was busted and it seemed it would be that way forever.

No one is sure, any more, how long the photographers worked or how much they were paid. Probably not long and not much.

Mr. Davis, then less than a year into his job as commissioner, remembered the emotional jolt of reviewing a few sample frames.
“Then they all disappeared,” he said.

The infamous wretched New York of the 1970s and 1980s can be glimpsed here, true to the pages of outlaw history.

But that version has never been truth enough.

The photos speak a commanding, unwritten narrative of escape and discovery.
“You see that people were not going to the parks just to get away from it all, but also to find other people,” said Jonathan Kuhn, the director of art and antiquities for the department.

From the trove, Mr. Kuhn has selected 65 pictures to mount for the exhibit at the Arsenal Gallery, which is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Like the starlight that travels millions of years before we see it, the four little boys stand in their underpants at Coney Island on an August day in 1978, and it is only now, in a found photograph, that we behold them."
photography  1978  nyc  jimdwyer  parks  publicspace  public  community  humans  connection  cities  urban  urbanism  humanity  people 
april 2018 by robertogreco
The biggest estate on earth ABC News - YouTube
"Before white settlement, some of the local landscape looked like parkland. Author Bill Gammage explains the complex systems of land management used by Indigenous Australians."

[via: ]
australia  aborigines  billgammage  history  human-animalrelationships  human-animalrelations  morethanhuman  multispecies  parks  landscape 
january 2018 by robertogreco
How teen-focused design can help reshape our cities - Curbed
"Sometimes it seems like there is nowhere for teens to be. Here’s what they are doing about it"

"A decade ago, skateparks also tended to be bounded, purpose-built environments that skaters nicknamed “exercise yards.” Today the boundaries are often more fluid, at least between a public park and the skate park. In Tacoma, rather than a 10,000-square-foot skatepark, the city built a few skate spots in a park and, in downtown Wright Park, made the semi-circular benches around the “sprayground” skateable with steel edges rather than defending them with steel knobs. In Emeryville, California, there’s a skate path, with bowls, bumps and rails spread out over a recreational corridor (provoked, it must be said, by the demolition of a DIY skate park).

These designs simulate the thrill of the streets where skateboarding began and, some skateboarders insist, it belongs. In Red Hook, the new park will stay connected to the city, and be protected by more eyes, because it will still serve as a pass-through for residents walking north.


Many of the teens’ suggestions, coast to coast, just seem like good sense for people of any age: seating, green space, recreation zonesclose to public transportation, an adult nearby should something happen (but not operating under a state of constant surveillance), longer and later hours. Teens are people too! These projects harness their energy, their ideas and their persuasive powers so that the education goes both ways: teens learn how to advocate for themselves on the city stage, adults learn what it is that a famously uncommunicative demographic needs.

I like Rich’s formulation of teenagers as a febrile, emotional version of adults, not yet disappeared inside a carapace of car, phone, job, gym. The skateboarders and the snackers, the watchers and the players are all alive to the built environment."
alexandralange  architecture  design  urbanism  urban  skateboarding  skateboards  skating  teens  youth  urbanplanning  cities  activism  civics  publicspace  edhook  nyc  booklyn  emeryville  skateparks  parks 
january 2018 by robertogreco
California Today: A Strike Looms in Hollywood [bookmark not about this] - The New York Times
"To escape the concrete and clamor of San Francisco, you might drive 45 minutes to the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge and slip into a redwood forest.

Or you could go the center of the city.

There rises Mount Sutro, an 80-acre hill forested by blue gum eucalyptus trees. Nourished by the enveloping San Francisco fog, many are more than 100 feet tall.

Among the reserve’s inhabitants are coyotes, red foxes, hoary bats and ringneck snakes. At least 80 species of bird have been spotted, including great horned owls. [ ]

Sarah Gustafson, a reader in San Francisco, said she walks regularly with her dog along Mount Sutro’s meandering five miles of trails. [ ] She shared a picture she took in December.

Entering the forest is almost immediately transporting, she said. After a few minutes of walking, the clatter of the city fades to silence.

“It’s really a fascinating place, especially on a foggy day,” said Ms. Gustafson, 27. “It’s got this sort of ethereal vibe.”

Mount Sutro has not been immune to the tree death sweeping California’s drought-stricken forests. A survey last year found that roughly a quarter of its trees were dead. A revitalization plan calls in part for clearing out the dead trees and introducing more native species (the eucalyptus are from Australia). [ ]

If you want to pitch in, they’re looking for volunteers.

Sutro Stewards [ ], a nonprofit conservation group, invites people to help with trail and habitat restoration on the first and third Saturdays of each month. Get the details here. [] "
sanfrancisco  nature  mountsutro  glvo  2017  animals  parks  birds  coyotes 
april 2017 by robertogreco
The Midcentury Sculptor Who Changed The Way Kids Play | Co.Design | business + design
"No one doubts the importance of play in childhood development—it lets kids figure out the world in an environment that encourages creativity, movement, and socializing. Swing sets teach kids about momentum, slides about gravity, monkey bars about coordination. Some of the cutting-edge playgrounds of today even experiment with movable objects to get kids collaborating and thinking like designers.

But playground design wasn't always so diverse. For that we can thank, in part, Jim Miller-Melberg, an artist who rebelled against conventional playground design, creating climbable, abstract sculptures that changed how a generation of kids played.

Miller-Melberg is one of dozens of designers featured in Michigan Modern: Design that Shaped America (Gibbs Smith, 2016), a new book edited by Amy Arnold and Brian D. Conway that charts how practitioners who lived, worked, or were educated in the state influenced the country as a whole. In many ways, Michigan is the cradle of modernism in America: Henry Ford shaped how we get around and how factories manufactured products. Architect Albert Kahn and his brother, engineer Julius Kahn, revolutionized how we build by inventing reinforced concrete and constructed the first structures with the material in Detroit. A generation of midcentury modernists cut their teeth at Cranbrook and created furniture that revolutionized the way we live.

Miller-Melberg, meanwhile, designed a new way to have fun.

Born in 1929, Miller-Melberg was introduced to sculpture as a child via his patternmaker father's workshop in Detroit. There, he experimented with metal and wood and eventually became a journeyman patternmaker by the time he graduated college. After brief stints at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan, he decided to pursue independent study and traveled to Europe where he scoped the studios of artists Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and Bernard Leach. The early sculptures he made were carved from wood, but he eventually cast large-scale bronze pieces before moving on to more utilitarian objects—like his play forms, which would become iconic.

In 1961, Miller-Melberg founded Form, Inc., a company that designed and manufactured "sculptures for play" made from molded concrete. (He also made park benches and furniture.) These included slides that looked like abstract saddles; climbable forms reminiscent of double helixes found in DNA; cylindrical towers and wavy walls with cutouts.

He spoke about how he developed pieces for an environment of play in a 2014 interview with design writer Debbie Millman, which is published in the book:
I grew up in the country and we always had a garden, had a little stream going through our property, glacial rocks in the stream, and we would jump from one to the other. But it was an environment for play. When I started designing, swings and slides were about it. I think kids love to swing and slide, but the emphasis is on individual activity. What I was trying to get across was to provide an environment to play together.
Miller-Melberg wasn't alone in his "playscapes" approach. Designers like Isamu Noguchi and the Smithsons experimented with abstract forms.

But what made a difference is the widespread adoption of Miller-Melberg's work. Cities across the country latched on to his philosophy. He had contracts with San Diego and Los Angeles to furnish their public parks with his play forms. His turtles can be found in Golden Gate Park, in San Francisco. He built a special concrete basketball hoop stand for Miami-Dade County parks, which were resilient in the region's salt air; now the hoops are all over the country. In researching the book, Arnold and Conway discovered the sculptor's work installed as far away as Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.

Miller-Melberg manufactured his products until selling the company in 1981 to Wausau Tile, a Wisconsin-based fabricator of architectural products; to this day, it still sells Miller-Melberg's park furnishings.

"Jim’s play sculptures represent a broader movement to incorporate art into daily life," Arnold says. "It was thought that if children were around art and design, they would gain a strong appreciation for it that would carry over into their adulthood and shape the choices they made. That was the beauty of Modernism, it was all about 'better living' and making a better world. Jim has said that what he tried to do with his play sculptures was to provide an environment where children could be creative and put their imaginations to use—the possibilities were limitless. He likened them to playing on natural rock formations. The plastic, primary colored play structures of today are not very inspiring."

Arnold and her team included Miller-Mellberg in the book partly out of nostalgia, and because of the personal connection they had with his designs—a sentiment that reinforces the broad, sweeping impact Michigan designers had.

"The baby boomers working on the book remembered Jim’s work, which appeared in playgrounds, school yards, parks, and malls across America throughout the 1960s," Arnold says. "When we started the Michigan Modern project, we had no idea Jim was from Michigan. A colleague had found a copy of a 1960s Play Forms catalog, and when we saw Jim was from South Lyon, Michigan, we were thrilled. It supported our claim that Michigan designers shaped the modern America lifestyle.""
children  play  playgrounds  sculpture  parks  jimmiller-melberg 
october 2016 by robertogreco
Imagining The Outside District: San Francisco’s What-If Neighborhood | Hoodline
"Across the western half of San Francisco stretch 1,017 acres of rolling greenery: Golden Gate Park.

Over the course of its existence, the park, with its gardens, lakes, meadows, and museums, has cemented its status as a San Francisco landmark. However, what if the city’s 19th century planners had instead annexed the Outside Lands not for a park, but for residential development?"

"Three quarters of the proposed area for Golden Gate Park was covered in sand dunes at the time of purchase, similar to the terrain along Ocean Beach and beneath the Sunset and Richmond Districts.

In an unprecedented horticultural experiment, William Hammond Hall, the park’s first superintendent, and John McLaren, a master gardener, were tasked with turning these “dreary desert” dunes into thriving parkland.

Their eventual success sprouted from a horse’s feedbag.

After a number of failed experiments, the men noticed that barley grain, serendipitously spilt from the feedbag of a horse, took root in the sand. Even though the grain only lived for a couple of months, barley played an essential role in taming the dunes and ultimately transitioning the Outside Lands from sand to vegetation.

Starting in what is now called the Panhandle, barley grain was broadcasted, followed by sea bent grass and yellow lupine. Layers of topsoil, manure, and organic matter were shipped in, and strategically-placed wind barricades aided in the land’s conversion.

Once the dunes had been subdued, larger plants were introduced. Within ten years of Golden Gate Park’s inception, over 155,000 trees and shrubs were planted. “Sand Francisco” had effectively grown into a green oasis, sustained by windmills that pumped water from wells drilled near the Pacific Ocean."
sanfrancisco  history  sfsh  outsidedistrict  goldengatepark  parks  landscapedesign 
june 2016 by robertogreco
Just Subtract Water: The Los Angeles River and a Robert Moses with the Soul of a Jane Jacobs - The Los Angeles Review of Books
"Archival photographs taken in the late 19th and early 20th centuries show the LA River as a spreading arroyo of sand and gravel, crazy-quilting the basin for much of its length. It coursed into Santa Monica bay in the early 19th century before shifting to the Los Angeles Harbor, leaving Ballona Creek in its wake on the Ballona Creek watershed. The LA River as it eventually ran from the Valley toward Long Beach was never a miniature Hudson or Mississippi or Nile — wide, flowing, and storied — but a rugged and dry wash for most of the year, crisscrossing the alluvial fan and changing course and direction in a swath eight miles wide in places.

The character of this indeterminate river of changeable mind, alternately casual and violent, was transformed big-time after the 1938 deluge, when 3 million barrels of concrete were dedicated to a single purpose: flood-control management. From Canoga Park in the west San Fernando Valley down to the harbor, its wild, open, and sprawling Zane Grey character vanished into a canyon of concrete.

The river in this form was not designed as a social amenity. The goal-oriented engineers conceived the LA River as a highway for floodwater, to be left virtually vacant otherwise, for most of the year. For some, the river has seemed entombed by a brutal material cast in cold, hostile geometries. After a storm, the river was also treacherous, the pitch accelerating the flow. If the Mississippi seems lazy, it’s partially because it drops about 800 feet in 1,200 miles (if you start at Minneapolis). No rush. The LA River is amphetamine by comparison, dropping by about the same elevation but in only 51 miles.

The ripple effect of the channeled river wasn’t pretty either. The newly defined and protected shoulders of the river were dedicated to electric transformer substations, high-tension wires, warehouses, factories, jails, sanitation truck parking lots, rail lines, and rail yards. It was an industrial service corridor that wasn’t riparian and verdant.

But then it never really had been.

The invisible tributaries to this river of concrete were the street and drainage systems, and as the drought forces hydrologists to look for other sources of water through an integrated program of water usage, including retention, conservation, and recycling, they have come to understand that the river is symptomatic of a paved-over landscape. Focus has widened beyond the Narrows and even the entire 51-mile length of the river to a macro scale and a more holistic understanding of the basin and region.

The drought has changed the game, but another primary factor is the leadership of Mayor Eric Garcetti, who early in his term identified his mayoralty with the river: soon after his election, photos of the mayor kayaking in the river went up in LAX terminals. Perhaps because he grew up in Encino, where he walked alongside the river with his sister and father, and because he represented Silver Lake and other river communities in the City Council, Garcetti has dedicated considerable political will, energy, and capital to a cause he has cared about for decades.

In 2014, he established the multidisciplinary, multi-departmental LA Riverworks department within his own office to coordinate the implementation of the whole river vision, including the 2007 Revitalization Plan, the Army Corps’s Ecosystem Restoration Study, and other plans. “To get anything done in LA, it helps to have the headquarters in the mayor’s office to show the issue is central to the City plans,” Garcetti says, back to normal just a day after a terrorist threat shut down LA schools. “This was a way to centralize cooperation and formalize commitment to the river. It’s a one-stop shop for people to cohabitate, and a reflection of how important the issue is to me.”

The river is playing a role in Garcetti’s bid to bring the 2024 Olympics to Los Angeles: several sites along the river are being considered as possible venues for Olympics-related structures.

Early last year, the independent Los Angeles River Revitalization Corporation wooed Frank Gehry, inviting the Los Angeles architect to study the river and make proposals encompassing everything from the river to the watersheds. “Frank called me and asked me if the invitation was real, and whether it had my support,” says the mayor, “and since I was committed, he committed. Then there was a spillover effect: if he was involved, others wanted to be involved.” Tapping the glocal Gehry, a popular avuncular figure, switched the kliegs onto the river, galvanizing public attention — and lately governmental support: the state has just awarded a $1.5 million grant for Gehry to complete the first phase of a study on which he and his consultants have already worked pro bono for 10 months.

When his involvement was announced, Gehry’s first comments pointed to issues beyond the prevalent notion of the river as a landscaping opportunity. Like Mr. McGuire in The Graduate wanting to say just one word — plastics — to Benjamin (Dustin Hoffman’s character), Gehry memorably uttered hydrology: he would only be interested in the river project if addressed from a water-reclamation point of view. To recharge the basin, he would have to look at the whole river in the context of the larger water ecosystem, and not just the 32-mile Los Angeles city corridor."

"Besides expanding the scope of the inquiry, Gehry has already challenged assumptions. By admitting “concrete” to the palette of ideas, he has expanded the basis of the investigation from plant materials and river cross-sections to include other architectural and cultural issues. There is a place for intimacy and a place for monumentality, and for all the talk about speaking for the river, holding the microphone requires closer listening to what the entire length of the river says it wants to be. The LA River is many rivers, and its character shifts along its course, especially because it widens downstream, as more water enters the channel. Total landscaping is not the answer when the river might be calling for sports stadia with bleachers nested into the embankments.

Confronted with perhaps the largest project of his career, and what could be the commission of an already remarkable lifetime, Gehry didn’t balk at the scale of the endeavor but immediately expressed founding perceptions — hydrology and concrete — with large-scale consequences that break through existing assumptions. The concepts establish an expanded basis for going forward. Angelenos and others have wondered why he has parachuted into the problem. But few people, if any, are better qualified to see the river in all its complexities, and then answer the complexities with proposals. And few figures have the skills to coalesce a broad-based effort that can unite the city. He is a Robert Moses with the soul of a Jane Jacobs.

No one asked for the drought, but it has arrived and is shaping imperatives for the basin’s hydrology, and with it the shape and character of the river and the city itself, recentering it with a common core. In a short period of time, Gehry has assimilated and expanded a complex and lively conversation.

Garcetti explains that the river is not just the geographic heart of the city but also its historic heart. The waterway, which predates people, set pathways for the Tongva, then roads for the Spanish, and then our freeways. A quarter of LA’s population lives within walking distance of the river. “Running from the Valley to Long Beach, it’s really the backbone of the city. Reclaiming the river gives us the ability to reclaim our past and set our future. To me it’s more dynamic than just a magnet or a center. As I’ve said many times, it’s the zipper that can bring us together.”

After the devastating fire of 1871, Chicago remade itself into a modern city, based on innovative architecture and progressive urban planning. Through what seems a propitious alignment of political will, public interest, talent, and momentum, this is LA’s moment to seize its day. A revitalized river running through our megalopolis has the potential not only to revitalize the river, but also to revitalize Los Angeles itself."
losangeles  losangelesriver  lariver  history  cities  california  floodcontrol  2015  josephgiovannini  ericgarcetti  urbanplanning  parks  nature  rivers  urban  urbanism  lariverworks  architecture 
february 2016 by robertogreco
Google Street View Comes to California's State Parks | State Park | SoCal Wanderer | KCET
"Last week, California State Parks and Google Maps unveiled a project that allows folks to experience the images and sights of various hikes throughout California State Parks. Rather than fitting a 360-degree camera on top of a car, Google used Trekker, its camera that fits onto a wearable backpack and snaps photos as one walks."
california  stateparks  2015  googlemaps  google  streetview  googlestreetview  parks 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Visitor Studies Association - Journal and Archive
"Visitor Studies is the peer-reviewed research journal of the Visitor Studies Association, now published by Taylor and Francis. Appearing bi-annually, Visitor Studies publishes high-quality articles, focusing on visitor research, visitor studies, evaluation studies, and research methodologies. The Journal also covers subjects related to museums and out-of-school learning environments, such as zoos, nature centers, visitor centers, historic sites, parks and other informal learning settings.

A primary goal for Visitor Studies is to be an accessible source of authoritative information within the visitor studies field that provides both theoretical and practical insights of relevance to practitioners and scholars. As a secondary goal, Visitor Studies aims to develop its reputation as an international publication."

"The Visitor Studies Association archive holds the past publications of VSA. This archive contains the entire run of earlier formats of Visitor Studies: Theory, Research, and Practice (formerly the Proceedings of the 1988-1996 Visitor Studies Association Conference), Visitor Behavior (1986-1997), and Visitor Studies Today (1998-2006). The archive also contains conference abstracts from the annual Visitor Studies Association Conference (1998 to the present), and C.G. Screven’s Visitor Studies Bibliography and Abstracts (4th Ed., 1999).

While the archive does contain the full holdings of the Visitor Studies Association, to enhance access, many of the full-length articles have been transferred to the Informal Science repository."

[See also:

"VSA is today’s premier professional organization focusing on all facets of the visitor experience in museums, zoos, nature centers, visitor centers, historic sites, parks and other informal learning settings. We’re committed to understanding and enhancing visitor experiences in informal learning settings through research, evaluation, and dialogue.

VSA's members are a diverse and dynamic group of individuals including evaluators, educators, exhibit developers, designers, marketing professionals, planners, academics, and directors who share a passion for improving the quality of visitor experiences. VSA also boasts an outstanding international membership from twenty different countries."]
museums  research  journals  archives  via:jannon  zooks  visitorexperience  experience  parks  informallearning  learning  exhibits  education 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Logan Heights Neighborhood Builds a Neighborhood Park
"They were tired of waiting on the city.

Logan Heights residents decided there was an easier way to get what they wanted — a community park — than by working within established city process.

They’ve got money, land and plans for a park designed by kids in the neighborhood. It’s on Imperial Avenue, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, won’t cost much and is getting done quickly, all with minimal city help.

The Gilliam Family Community Garden & Park will have a playhouse, small amphitheater for movie nights and tables to eat pupusas and tacos from nearby restaurants.

Organizers are aiming to finish in September, after 500 volunteers pitch in for six building days. That would mean the whole thing — concept, fundraising, planning, permitting and construction — could be done in just over a year.

“This is about community members getting shit done,” said Monique Lopez, a volunteer and community activist."

"Last spring, BAME CDC, a community-focused nonprofit in Logan Heights, held a “take back the alley” event, part of a series the group does to help beautify the area.

This one was for the alley that separates homes on Imperial Avenue from a row of heavy-duty industrial businesses — things like auto-wrecking and metal-scrapping — on Commercial Avenue.

The group and a team of volunteers were clearing trash and abandoned large items, and painting murals down the length of the alley.

While putting it together, Avital Aboody, the group’s project coordinator, noticed a vacant lot on Imperial, and thought it’d be a useful staging and storage area. She reached out to the property owner, who said they could use it."

"Everything they’re building at the park is set to be temporary. That keeps down costs, requires less onerous city permitting and gives Gilliam flexibility to develop the property permanently, though Gilliam says he doesn’t have any plans."

"Aboody and her boss had initially been involved in the city’s attempts to rewrite development regulations in the neighborhood.

They found it frustrating and unproductive. The city sent out emails about meetings, but there wasn’t any visual sense in the community that things were happening.

“Even for me, it’s my job to do these things in the community, and I’d miss notifications,” she said. “It’s just not like any other community event, where I’d see flyers all over the place.”

Worse, the whole thing was dominated by a few property owners, she said. And the conversation required too much understanding of process and jargon to be meaningful to any newcomer. The city brought Spanish-English translators, but it didn’t help.

“The whole thing was planner speak,” Aboody said.

For the group and the residents they normally work with, there had to be a better way.

“My approach has been bottom-up, instead of top-down,” she said. “It takes too long, it’s too complicated and people want results now, so what we do is get together and actually do projects.”

“At the end of the day, that’s just a plan,” Lopez said. “People are constantly being asked to give their input about parks or not having sidewalks. They’re tired of talking about it. They want to see something.”

This is right out of the so-called “tactical urbanism” playbook, which calls for improving neighborhoods by finding ways to make immediate, incremental improvements."

"On the last Friday in March, families laid out blankets in the vacant lot, ate tacos and waited for the sun to set so they could watch “The Princess Bride” on a temporary projection screen. Other kids and neighbors happened by and stepped in to see what was going on.

BAME holds movie nights at the lot on the last Friday of every month, asking for $1 per person. It raises a little bit of money, but really it’s for two things: getting the neighborhood used to the space as theirs, and recruiting volunteers for the 500-strong army it’ll need to build the thing in a week come fall.

“Once momentum builds, and the neighborhood realizes what it has, the whole thing will take off and entire families will participate,” said Robert Leathers, the project’s professional architect, with Space 4 Art.

Leathers was brought in to turn ideas from neighborhood kids, gathered in a design workshop last month, into the real thing.

He’s done this hundreds of times in 10 countries and all 50 states, he said, most without any issues.

Underserved neighborhoods like Logan Heights have the greatest need for all-ages outdoor space.

“Let’s face it: One-third of people here don’t have a car, so it’s harder for them to get to regional outdoor spaces like the beach or Balboa Park,” he said.

The playground-treehouse will appeal to little kids and big kids, he said. The garden is meant as an educational tool for families to start their own gardens. And the amphitheater works for anyone.

While they’re collecting enough volunteers to make it happen, organizers are getting their permits in a row.

Though the project was explicitly conceived as a way to bypass city process, the group will end up getting a hand from the city in a couple different ways.

It’ll need special permission from Development Services to use a lot for a park and garden, since it’s zoned for a home. One of the city’s planners for the area is helping with the process.

Councilman David Alvarez’s office also chipped in $5,000 from community projects grants each district can hand out."
sandiego  loganheights  2015  parks  community  lcproject  openstudioproject  outdoors  robertleathers  tacticalurbanism  urbanism  urban 
april 2015 by robertogreco
HPLA v1.0 [HistoricPlacesLA]
"HistoricPlacesLA is the first online information and management system specifically created to inventory, map and help protect the City of Los Angeles’ significant historic resources. It showcases the city's diversity of historic resources, including architecturally significant buildings and places of social importance, as well as historic districts, bridges, parks, and streetscapes."

[via: ]
losangeles  history  architecture  place  bridges  parks  buildings 
march 2015 by robertogreco
In rural Alabama, student architects jump-start a neglected park | MNN - Mother Nature Network
"A shift from architectural showstoppers to “in-between areas”
In 2012, Rural Studio’s citizen architects doubled up again for two distinct Lions Park projects.

The first, Lions Park Scout Hut, is just that — a handsome new home for the local Boy Scout and Cub Scout troops that have long served as environmental stewards of the park. The log cabin-inspired facility is equipped with restrooms, storage areas, woodstove and a kitchen that’s sizable enough to handle the Scout’s annual catfish fry fundraiser. As noted by Architectural Record, “the hut's dimensions were determined largely by the space required to house two travel trailers and the imperative to accommodate an elevated track for the Pinewood Derby — the legendary Cub Scouts model car race. Pack 13 wanted the longest one they could have: 48 feet.”

In tandem with the Scout Hut, the second thesis team — Alex Henderson along with Jessica Cain, Mary Melissa Yohn and Benjamin Johnson – embarked on the Lions Park Landscape project. Although this project did not yield razzle-dazzle restrooms, crowd-drawing concrete half-pipes or a Tom Kundig-esque atelier, it served as a vital — and much needed – step in the transformation of Lions Park: it visually ties everything together.

As explained by Henderson, Lions Park’s turnaround has progressed in a somewhat piecemeal fashion. Certain areas were lavished with a fair amount of attention while other areas — the “in-between areas” as Henderson calls them — were left largely untouched. The balance was off-kilter. Lions Parks, home to several new eye-catching structures that had attracted the attention of the global architecture community, was still rough around the edges.

“The goal was to give all of the park’s empty spaces a name and character,” says Henderson. “We were trying to give all of the park attention.”

To beautify the areas around the new sports facilities and make the park a more appealing place to simply relax and unwind, Henderson and his peers planted a large number (about 170) and a wide variety of trees — white oak, eastern redbud, bald cypress, red maple, flowering dogwood and others. The team also created a quartet of rain gardens to better manage stormwater runoff while tackling assorted landscaping odd-and-ends that tie disparate sections of the park together into a cohesive whole. Additionally, the team devised a long-term maintenance plan, not just for the park’s landscaped elements but for infrastructure as well.

The maintenance conversation is still an on-going one that centers around the central question: how can a city, a city that’s modest in both size and affluence like Greensboro, successfully use limited resources to maintain a park for the long-haul?

As Henderson points out, “you don’t want to build something that can’t be taken care of.”

One solution now underway is the transition from a joint-ownership model towards a single ownership scenario in which the city of Greensboro would main control over the park. A first-ever parks and recreation board consisting of a council of appointees would be formed to direct management and oversee a small annual budget.

For now, Lions Park, along with a few pocket parks scattered around town, are maintained by the city road crew — the same folks responsible for fixing potholes, picking up litter and mowing the lawn in front of the county courthouse. It’s a big job for these city employees, whom Henderson refers to as the “unsung community heroes.” In the future, a small maintenance team would be assembled to exclusively attend to Greensboro parks to ensure that they receive the attention they need."
ruralstudio  alabama  greensboro  architecture  design  auburn  matthickman  2015  parks  revitalization  sammockbee  andrewfreear 
february 2015 by robertogreco
The Official Website of Virunga National Park - The Virunga Alliance
"Born of a Congolese commitment to the protection of Virunga National Park, the Virunga Alliance aims to foster peace and prosperity through the responsible economic development of natural resources for four million people who live within a day’s walk of the park’s borders.

A minimum of 30% of the park’s revenues is invested in community development projects. These projects are defined by the community and are based on the principle of free and informed consultation with civil society groups.

Virunga Alliance is the intersection of civil society, private sector and state institutions working together toward sustainable development goals in eastern Congo. Virunga Alliance will deliver large-scale opportunities to tens of thousands of Congolese men and women who are ready to rebuild the region and redefine the country’s future.

We propose a three-phase approach and identify four main sectors for development, including Energy, Tourism, Agro-Industry, Sustainable Fisheries, and Infrastructure."
virunga  parks  africa  congo  drc  sustainability  fisheries  agriculture  tourism  energy  infrastructure  economics  development 
january 2015 by robertogreco
#captureParklandia: A Dive into Social Media & Place-Based Digital Engagement | Art Museum Teaching
"#captureParklandia is the Portland Art Museum’s most recent dive into a large-scale social media project. Created in tandem with the special exhibition The Art of the Louvre’s Tuileries Gardens, Portland Parks and Recreation, and the Portland Parks Foundation, #captureParklandia is both an online and in-gallery experience. #captureParklandia’s pie-in-the-sky goal is to get Portlanders to play with the museum and connect in new ways.  Through this playful interaction, Portlanders will begin to think of PAM as their museum, not just a museum."

[See also: "Have museums always been “authoritative?”"

and "Parklandia: Stretching, Striving To What End?" ]

[via: ]
portland  oregon  art  education  arteducation  museums  mikemurawski  krisinbayans  socialmedia  participatory  parklandia  captureparklandia  parks  engagement  audienceparticipation  2014  judithdobrzynski  instagram  hashtags  curation 
july 2014 by robertogreco
California Open Spaces
[Explained more: ]

"From family vacations in a national park to mornings at the dog run or lazy days on the beach, Californians live their lives outdoors—and share their experiences online on Twitter, Flickr, Instagram, and Foursquare.

The idea is pretty simple. We’ve taken the actual shape of every park in California and used it as a window to watch social media streaming out of our parks.

From the teeny pocket park down the street to huge Stanislaus National Forest—the state’s biggest!—this project bears witness to a simple story a million different ways: parks are part of our lives in California.

We hope that this project helps connect Californians with their parks—from the liveliest and loudest to the quiet and secluded. And that park rangers, managers, and advocates find these stories and connect with the Californians who use their parks.

• Explore social media from giant parks to tiny parks….
• Which parks are most tweeted about?
• Which are the most photogenic parks?
• Where are people checking in?"
california  stamen  stamendesign  maps  mapping  parks  landscape  openspaces  flickr  twitter  instagram  foursquare  socialmedia 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Fighting Crime With Architecture in Medellín, Colombia -
"city’s transformation established roots before…Fajardo took office, in thoughtful planning guidelines, amnesties & antiterrorism programs, community-based initiatives by Germany & UN &…Colombian national policy mandating architectural interventions as a means to attack poverty & crime.

…every mayor here has to have enormous architectural & infrastructural plans, or risk coming across as small-minded or an outsider.

…Empresas Públicas de Medellín…constitutionally mandated to provide clean water & electricity even to houses in the city’s illegal slums, so that unlike in Bogotá, where the worst barrios lack basic amenities, in Medellín there’s a safety net.

E.P.M.’s profits…go directly to building new schools, public plazas, the metro & parks.

“We took a view that everything is interconnected — education, culture, libraries, safety, public spaces,”

…goal of government should be providing rich and poor with the same quality education, transportation and public architecture…"
moravia  planb  jprcr  anaelviravélez  lorenzocastro  alejandrobernal  felipemesa  camilorestrepo  rogeliosalmona  conservation  catalinaortiz  normanfoster  slums  giancarlomazzanti  comuna13  epm  aníbalgaviria  chocó  chocano  bogotá  alejandroecheverri  transmobility  equality  transportation  schools  education  libraries  parks  architecture  policty  government  urban  urbanism  crimeprevention  placemaking  2012  sergiofajardo  colombia  medellin  medellín 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Preserving the Environment with Cities, Not In Spite of Them - Design - The Atlantic Cities
"We cannot allow the future to mimic the recent past. We need our inner cities and traditional communities to absorb as much of our anticipated growth as possible, to keep the impacts per increment of growth as low as possible. And, to do that, we need cities to be brought back to life, with great neighborhoods and complete streets, with walkability and well-functioning public transit, with clean parks and rivers, with air that is safe to breathe and water that is safe to drink.

This, I believe, leads to some imperatives: where cities have been dis-invested, we must rebuild them; where populations have been neglected, we must provide them with opportunity; where suburbs have been allowed to sprawl nonsensically, we must retrofit them and make them better. These are not just economic and social matters: these are environmental issues, every bit as deserving of the environmental community’s attention as the preservation of nature."
cities  urban  urbanism  environment  sustainability  economics  kaidbenfield  us  innercities  people  humans  edglaeser  davidowen  density  energy  civilization  classideas  urbanization  builtenvironment  infrastructure  society  libraries  parks  publictransit  transportation  mobile  schools  education  growth  population  2011 
september 2011 by robertogreco
Museum peace: Japan's Naoshima island | Travel | The Observer
"Japanese cool has, for decades now, been associated with everything fast, hi-tech & jangly; it's the TVs on taxi dashboards, the control-panels on toilets, the underground universes around major train stations that keep buzzing even after a natural calamity that stunned the rest of us. And if you're looking for a world-defining Japanese art form, you're more likely to turn these days to anime and manga than to any of the country's classical painters or mock-European forms. So it was shocking for me to go to the sleepy, faraway island of Naoshima – now turned into an "art island" rich with museums and installations – and find the coolest thing I've seen in my 24 years of living in Japan. It was, in some ways, the reverse of technology…"

"Naoshima is not like anything in the west, but more an ultra-cool reference and homage to what Japan has been doing all along, in cutting away distraction and using frames and light and silence to still the mind and train one in attention."
picoiyer  japan  naoshima  naoshimaisland  art  museums  technology  simplicity  tadaoando  chichumuseum  parks  benessehouse  jamesturrell  leeufan 
july 2011 by robertogreco
"Few skate spots on earth can claim the notoriety of philadelphia's love park. its location and design have made it the focal point of east-coast skateboarding. for the first time, ricky oyola, stevie williams, josh kalis, kerry getz, tim o'connor, and a host of local notables tell the tale of this legendary landmark."
urban  documentary  skateboarding  philadelphia  parks  skating  lovepark  2004  classideas  meaning  meaningmaking  history  rickyoyola  steviewilliams  joshkalis  kerrygetz  timo'connor  cities  skateboards 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Most liveable city: Helsinki [Monocle]
"Helsinki claims the number 1 spot in Monocle’s 2011 Quality of Life survey, which ranks the top 25 cities in the world to call home. Rising from fifth position in 2010, Helsinki outperformed Zürich at number 2 and Copenhagen at number 3 to claim the mantle as the world’s most liveable city. An unorthodox but well-deserving champion, the Finnish capital stands out for its fundamental courage to rethink its urban ambitions, and for possessing the talent, ideas and guts to pull it off."
helsinki  cities  monocle  2011  finland  urban  urbanplanning  urbanism  small  local  scale  design  glvo  parks  art  business  collectives  simplicity  slowness  appropriation  life  food  development  livability  transformation 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Chollas Lake Park | Park & Recreation
"As a reservoir built in 1901, Chollas Lake helped serve early San Diego's water supply. In 1966 it was turned over to the Park and Recreation Department, and was designated a youth fishing lake (for children ages 15 and under only) in 1971."

"Facilities: A 16-acre lake for free youth fishing (age 15 and under ONLY); an 8/10's-of-a-mile dirt path around the lake for walking, jogging, and bicycling; picnic tables with barbecue grills; children's play equipment; a small basketball court; hiking trails; and a multi-purpose ball field in North Chollas canyon."
sandiego  togo  chollasreservoir  chollaslake  parks  glvo 
june 2011 by robertogreco
Miyashita Park by Atelier Bow-Wow | Spoon & Tamago
"Up until very recently, depending on where you were on the spectrum of social politics, Miyashita Park was either a safehaven for those rejected from society, or a neighborhood blight that is breeding ground for trouble.

But on April 30th a brand new Miyashita Park opened to the public and, despite the same name, it is unrecognizable to anyone who knew it prior to its reincarnation. What used to be home to hundreds of homeless, the blue tarpaulin, cardboard boxes and tents that comprised their dwellings are now nowhere to be seen. What used to feel like a space so far-removed from civilization it felt like a different country, has now, perhaps by force, been integrated into the hip mega-district that is Shibuya. More on that here.

With funding from Nike and blueprints provided by renowned architects Atelier Bow-Wow, a brand new space for the local community, equipped with everything from skating ramps to rock-climbing walls, has been put in place.…"
atelierbow-wow  architecture  urban  parks  playgrounds  play  miyashitapark  design  landscape  japan  tokyo  shibuya 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Salottobuono > projects > DREAMING MILANO
"…Thinking about the internal boundaries of the city, about its “inner front”, means to catch the opportunity of an expansion different from the peripheral one: with other relationships between open spaces and built masses, a different density, a different intensity, proper typologies.<br />
It means also to reflect on the natural environment, not as a landscape fragment romantically survived to urbanization anymore, but as a “productive graft”, structuring space and metropolitan luxury. Cultivated place instead of social diaphragm.

The deep differences between the metropolitan boundaries and the agricultural land could exacerbate, rather than recompose in a homogeneous tissue.

On the inner edge of the contemporary city, high-speed drifting fragments of frenetic urbanity float free from intrinsic relations with the traditional organization of the built environment…"
milano  milan  cities  innerfront  landscape  architecture  planning  urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  expansion  endlesscities  growth  monocentriccities  italia  italy  illustration  rail  railways  publicspace  parks  boundaries  environment  urbanization 
march 2011 by robertogreco
Park 101: A Central Park for Los Angeles - GOOD Blog - GOOD
"Dense urban centers are great, but we still have to find some room for nature in the city. Los Angeles hasn't done a great job of this in the past, but now there's an ambitiuos proposal on the table: putting a massive park on top of a below-grade section of the 101 freeway in the heart of downtown. The Park 101 project would give the city some much-needed greenspace, unite neighborhoods that have been fractured by downtown's tangle of freeways, and allow for smart new urban housing developments."

[See also: AND ]
parks  losangeles  urban 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Medellín, Colombia's architectural renaissance -
"Medellín, in the end, is more than an isolated urban success story or an example of a city that has managed to bridge contemporary architecture's great divide. It also offers a timely model for Los Angeles and other cities that have long turned almost exclusively to New York and Europe for ideas about how architecture ought to look — and how cities ought to operate.

Just as Gustavo Dudamel, the 29-year-old Venezuelan conductor, has brought fresh energy and a new sense of social commitment to the Los Angeles Philharmonic, so Medellín and other successful examples of Latin American city-making have a role to play in helping Los Angeles reimagine its future.

For American cities and their leaders, what Medellín symbolizes most clearly of all is what we stand to gain by looking south as well as east — and to poor countries, when it makes sense, along with wealthy ones — for cultural inspiration."

[See also: ]
architecture  design  medellin  colombia  losangeles  latinamerica  development  planning  urban  infrastructure  sergiofajardo  libraries  schools  parks  medellín 
may 2010 by robertogreco
Kosmograd: Learning from Niketown
"The 2002 Scorpion KO campaign was centred around a cage-soccer tournament of 3-a-side, first-goal wins, an extension of a TV advert, directed by Terry Gilliam, and fronted by Eric Cantona. ... In connecting young people with an urban identity reinforced on the streets, and via online and mobile messaging, Nike created a powerful way of representing the city both with space and with signs, a 'Situationist' urban realm...The new brand city described by Borries ... is a dynamic city, a setting for organizing 'situations.' In order to reach even the smallest target groups, the media will be deployed in this city far more interactively than they are today. Streets, fallow zones, interstitial spaces and ruins will play essential roles in the brand name city. These spaces will not be overlaid with advertising in classical fashion, but will instead become the objects of discriminating marketing strategies...We have as much to learn from Nike as Venturi, from Niketown as Levittown."
via:blackbeltjones  architecture  economics  urbanism  marketing  uk  branding  nike  advertising  brands  london  situationist  parks  guydebord 
december 2009 by robertogreco
Detroit: Urban Laboratory and the New American Frontier |
"troubles of Detroit are well-publicized...economy in free fall, people streaming for the exits, worst racial polarization & city-suburb divide in America, its government is feckless & corrupt, & its civic boosters, even ones that are extremely knowledgeable, refuse to acknowledge the depth of the problems, instead ginning up stats & anecdotes to prove all is not so bad. But as with Youngstown, one thing this massive failure has made possible is ability to come up with radical ideas for the city, & potentially to even implement some of them. Places like Flint & Youngstown might be attracting new ideas & moving forward, but it is big cities that inspire the big, audacious dreams. & that is Detroit. Its size, scale, & powerful brand image are attracting not just the region’s but the world’s attention. It may just be that some of the most important urban innovations in 21st century America end up coming not from Portland or New York, but places like Youngstown &, yes, Detroit."
detroit  cities  economics  food  urban  urbanism  farming  future  optimism  urbanprairie  gamechanging  housing  michigan  urbanplanning  geography  agriculture  innovation  architecture  change  futurism  environment  sustainability  urbanagriculture  planning  research  parks  reconstruction  glvo 
december 2009 by robertogreco
6 Involuntary Parks | Quiet Babylon
When he was still running the Viridian Movement, Bruce Sterling introduced the idea of involuntary parks. Spaces in the world that have become so polluted or otherwise unusable by humans, that they’ve been left to nature (or, at least, savagery).
korea  brucesterling  detroit  centralia  chernobyl  brittany  ecology  landscape  nature  urbanism  environment  bldgblog  parks  ruins  collapse  urbanprairie  urbanreclamation 
november 2009 by robertogreco
Near Future Laboratory » Urban Historical Infrastructure Layers
"Three curious examples of a kind of infrastructural sedimentation, found in New York City and Brooklyn. The first one shows a broken portion of a (ugly) sign that had been placed over the original art deco style lettering on a behemoth post office. The next is a (ugly) fancy condominium module that has been plopped on top of an old light industrial / warehouse building in the now Tony / over-the-top section of Brooklyn’s “DUMBO” (down underneath the manhattan bridge overpass) section. Finally, The Highline, a new urban park that was found within an old abandoned stretch of train track that sits one story above ground, along the westside of Manhattan, around Chelsea-ish."
julianbleecker  nyc  brooklyn  manhattan  urban  infrastructure  parks  public  urbanism  highline  history  layering 
june 2009 by robertogreco
Time Has No Boundaries
"Time has no boundaries, no divisions, no fences. It is a continuous flow of people coming and going across empty space. What happens when a political boundary, an international border, is drawn across a prehistoric site? What happens when the site sits under an international boundary fence? Two archaeologists from two different countries of birth, ponder the fate of CA-SDI-222, a 7300 year old site in the far southwestern corner of the continental United States. Threatened by the construction of yet a second fence, and subject to the daily maneuvers of the U.S. Border Patrol, its fate remains to be seen."
sandiego  borders  us  mexico  tijuana  parks  stateparks  migration  immigration  landscape 
january 2009 by robertogreco
Curbed LA: Shiny Downtown Tower Is Out, New Park Is In
"At one point, in another financial universe, an award-winning shiny condo/hotel project, designed by local architecture firm Johnson Fain, was planned for a plot of land at 4th and Spring streets (in the area between the Rowan Lofts and the El Dorado project). Today comes news from Councilwoman Jan Perry's office that the city has purchased the .8 acre land with the help of quimby fees (fees paid by area developers) and the plot will be used as a park."

[see also: ]
losangeles  parks  urban  downtown 
january 2009 by robertogreco
GOOD Magazine | Goodmagazine - Fall Down, Go Boom - "Playgrounds have gotten safer, more streamlined, and progressively worse. Now innovators are taking them more seriously than ever."
"When litigation piled up in the early 1980s, the industry responded by raising insurance premiums and adhering closely to safety standards set up by the Consumer Products Safety Commission...But what the new, safe equipment is missing, of course, is the stuff that, according to Moore, makes play fun and crucial to early-childhood development: variety, complexity, challenge, risk, flexibility, and adaptability. So what are the actual benefits of these things? What we know about play is still fairly limited. One study found that the brains of rats deprived of play are less developed than those of rats allowed to carry on normally. Another study found that playing helps build “executive function”—our ability to regulate emotion and impulse. Scientists are also beginning to study the possible link between a lack of play and attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children."
playgrounds  design  children  play  innovation  safety  trends  education  parks  health  risk  learning  law  society 
august 2008 by robertogreco
LA Weekly - News - Rolling Out L.A.'s Cement Carpet - Tibby Rothman
"Downtown's long-promised central park has few trees. "Ugly" doesn't cover it"
losangeles  parks  urban  design  planning  green  trees  downtown 
july 2008 by robertogreco
LA Weekly - Parks and Wreck: L.A.'s Fight for Public Green Space - Matthew Fleischer
"The most park-impoverished major city in America, Los Angeles devotes only 4 percent of its land to public greenery. By contrast, parkland comprises 17% of NYC, 9% of Boston 16% of San Diego"
parks  losangeles  greenspace  public  policy  landscape 
july 2008 by robertogreco
Torrey Pines State Reserve
Because of the efforts and foresight of the people in this area, 2000 acres of land are as they were before San Diego was developed -with the chaparral plant community, the rare and elegant Torrey pine trees, miles of unspoiled beaches, and a lagoon that
lajolla  sandiego  parks 
may 2008 by robertogreco
PingMag - First spring at Isamu Noguchi’s Moerenuma Park
"“The whole park is a sculpture”, is what Isamu Noguchi said about Moerenuma Park in Sapporo, Hokkaido. Moerenuma Park opened last July, 18 years after Isamu visited Sapporo for the first time to design this 189-hectare park."
art  parks  sculpture  design  landscape  playgrounds  isamunoguchi  japan  sapporo  pingmag 
march 2008 by robertogreco
Archinect : Discussion Forum : General Discussion : Pocket Parks in Tokyo on NHK World
"A little story done by NHK about Pocket Parks (tsuji hiroba) in the Ikebukuro area of Tokyo"
tokyo  japan  jeansnow  video  parks  urban  design 
august 2007 by robertogreco
Milano | The Center for New York City Affairs - A Schoolyard in Brooklyn: Strengthening Families and Communities Through the Innovative Use of Public Space
"The report tells the story of the schoolyard at P.S. 503/506 (formerly P.S. 314) in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, that became a community plaza with activities for all ages. Now known as Neighborhood Center, it offers an affordable and proven model for reclaimi
community  design  parks  participation  space  urban  communitycenters  public  policy  schools  lcproject  nyc 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Babble: Designer Tim Nash on the ultra-safe, super-stylish, catalog-driven modern playground
"He also shared a trade secret: in spite of all the thought and money and child-psychology that goes into the design of modern slides, swings and bouncy wooden bridges, kids use playground equipment however they damn well please."
parks  design  children  play  playgrounds  architecture  society  modular 
december 2006 by robertogreco
My Life as a Dog - New York Times
"It is precisely my frustrations with George, and the inconveniences she creates, that reinforce in me how much compromise is necessary to share space with other beings."
dogs  pets  animals  society  cities  urban  life  nyc  parks  behavior  human  psychology  children 
december 2006 by robertogreco
LA Downtown News Online - Lessons From Colombia
"Ex-Bogotá Mayor Enrique Peñalosa Lectures City Officials On How to Steer a Car-less Future"
cities  transportation  design  urban  planning  urbanism  policy  space  people  culture  society  parks  colombia  latinamerica  cars  pedestrians  bikes  local  losangeles 
november 2006 by robertogreco
Podcast - Enrique Peñalosa Discusses The Importance Of Public Spaces | Planetizen
"In this podcast, we present excerpts from a recent speech by Peñalosa in which he discusses the importance of public spaces in creating great cities."
cities  transportation  design  urban  planning  urbanism  policy  space  people  culture  society  parks  colombia  latinamerica  cars  pedestrians  bikes  local  losangeles  enriquepeñalosa 
november 2006 by robertogreco
The Politics of Play | Metropolis Magazine
"There is a movement afoot to create recreational spaces that better serve our cities and our children."
architecture  landscape  children  design  cities  play  urban  urbanism  safety  security  law  society  playgrounds  toys  parenting  parks  schools  schooldesign  kinetic 
november 2006 by robertogreco
WorldChanging: Tools, Models and Ideas for Building a Bright Green Future: Remaking L.A.
"Three major plans for a new state historic park in downtown Los Angeles were revealed to the public last week. Given proper funding, the park will be constructed on what the L.A. Times calls "a slender, 32-acre parcel squeezed between Chinatown and the L
local  losangeles  design  architecture  landscape  parks  cities 
october 2006 by robertogreco
Paris Parks @ National Geographic Magazine
"Why are citizens of the City of Light so intent on finding space for parks and gardens, for street trees and nature strips? For that matter, why would any city go to the bother and expense of growing green space in the stone and steel of an urban environ
architecture  life  cities  paris  europe  parks  outdoors  society 
september 2006 by robertogreco

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