Wednesday, July 13, 2011 1:48 PM
Public golf courses, whose audience has gone the way of plaid slacks, are being remade by more cities into parks and other more in-demand amenities. Peter Harnik and Ryan Donahue report in Landscape Architecture Magazine that idle fairways are increasingly attractive to urban planners, asking, “What is the future of golf in crowded, park-hungry cities?”:
The game of golf has never been an efficient use of space (hence the development of mini golf) but in the past it could be argued that it was still worthwhile public investment that subsidized a system’s other parks through green fees. No longer. Golf’s popularity is not keeping up with population growth nor the explosion in the number of private golf venues; it’s also losing out to other self-directed activities like running and cycling.
The repurposing of golf courses has been happening for a few years, but the trend shows no signs of waning. After Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans repurposed some of the land that formerly held four golf courses covering 520 acres. The area now features a boardwalk, a dock, a meadow concert venue, a nature trail, and a very popular walking and jogging trail. National City, California, is considering turning a golf course into a park that has a soccer field, a restored creek, a community farm, and biking and walking paths. And in San Francisco, one landscape architecture instructor at the University of California at Berkeley assigns his students to remake the city’s Lincoln Park Golf Course for other public uses that include a profit-generating feature: “Among the proposals that have emerged,” Landscape Architecture Magazine reports, “are urban farms, bamboo forests, green cemeteries, aquifer recharge facilities, abalone farms, and municipal-scale composting facilities.”
It’s not always about ripping up the greens, though, according to Harnik and Donahue, whose research was supported by the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence. Pressure for other uses has led some golf courses to incorporate features that appeal to the non-golfing public. In Houston, runners advocated for and got a trail around a city course. In a Washington, D.C., suburb, golfers under fire for a driving-range expansion responded by agreeing to make the facility more friendly to the environment and to wildlife.
And some cities are simply letting ordinary people, those common folk who know nothing about bogies or mulligans, use the greens at certain times. This is anything but a new idea in the golf world, LAM reminds us:
The idea has an eminent precedent—St. Andrews in Scotland, hallowed ground for golfers everywhere, has traditionally opened up as a regular park for the townspeople on Sundays.
Source: Landscape Architecture Magazine
(article not available online), Governing
, licensed under
Thursday, February 24, 2011 10:26 AM
When I was a teenager, my friend Spring and I would often drive her Crown Victoria to the local cemetery after school. We would park by the headstones of Mr. Smith and Mrs. Crouch, lay out a blanket to sit on, and talk for an hour, with cottonwood leaves rustling overhead. It was a beautiful spot that had open views of the western sky—an oasis in our blue-collar town.
The idea that cemeteries are valuable public real estate, worthy of use beyond burial and mourning, has been around for centuries. Peter Harnik and Aric Merolli of Landscape Architecture write, “Before there were public parks, cemeteries were the primary manicured and sculpted green spaces within cities.”
Today protocols for the public use of cemetery land are remarkably varied. According to Harnik and Merolli:
Nearly all public cemeteries are open to the public, but they differ widely in the kinds of activities they allow. At the far hallowed end we have the federally owned Arlington National Cemetery, where almost nothing is permitted except walking from grave to grave; jogging and eating are prohibited, and there are virtually no benches. Across the Potomac, in a somewhat gritty part of Washington, D.C., Congressional Cemetery puts out the welcome mat to the community, allowing running, picnicking, sledding, children with balls, and even off-leash dogs.
Unconventional cemetery use is experiencing a resurgence, as a growing number of cemeteries embrace their roles as public spaces. Cedar Hill Cemetery in Hartford, Connecticut, hosts jazz concerts; Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York, holds elaborate puppet shows (one is pictured above); and Wyuka Cemetery in Lincoln, Nebraska, welcomes theatrical performances from Flatwater Shakespeare.
Though family rights can be an issue when deciding how graveyard grounds can be used, most cemetery boards don’t hear negative feedback. Bob Hall, the director of Flatwater Shakespeare, offers his wholehearted approval. Hall’s mother and father are buried at Wyuka, and he often notes, “I asked my parents, and they didn’t say anything.”
Source: Landscape Architecture Magazine(subscription required)
Image by gaelenh, licensed under Creative Commons.
Tuesday, June 09, 2009 5:38 PM
Homes bedecked with jewels and painted flowers. Whimsical garages with yawning mouths, and lampposts adorned with cast-metal birds. A road cobbled to look like a snake. This is a magical neighborhood, but it’s also a real place. This is the amazing, child-and-adult-designed community of Coriandoline.
Coriandoline was conceptually born in 1990, when a construction co-op in the northern Italian town of Correggio made an amazing decision to become “for inhabitants,” rather than “for habitations,” reports Landscape Architecture. Fulfilling the new ethos meant getting input about housing development design from all members of the community—including children. In 1995, two psychologists started collecting ideas from 700 local children, and fanciful, functional, playful Coriandoline began to take shape. Turning inspiration into brick-and-mortar doesn’t happen overnight: The first residents moved into their new homes, of which there are 20, in 2006.
So, here’s the deal: The article in Landscape Architecture originally was an episode of the Radio Netherlands program The State We’re In. The article isn’t online yet at LA’s website, but you can read a transcript of the broadcast over at Twin Cities Streets for People. What you should absolutely, do, however, is explore Coriandoline’s beautiful, whimsical website. This is one case where a photo truly is worth 1,000 words.
Sources: Landscape Architecture, Twin Cities Streets for People
Image by gurms, licensed under Creative Commons.
Thursday, April 30, 2009 3:15 PM
What is the appropriate space for prayer? Landscape Architecture—an accessible, engaging magazine published by the American Society of Landscape Architects—offers some points to chew on in its coverage of the Pope John Paul II Prayer Garden, which opened in Baltimore last October.
Situated next to a parking ramp, surrounded with a cage-like security fence, and locked up at night, the location prompted Landscape Architecture editor J. William Thompson to wonder back in February: “Who chose this site for the Prayer Garden, anyway?” Thompson points to Matthew 6:6, which calls for keeping prayer to private spaces.
Readers fired back in April’s letters: “What better place to bear witness than a busy street in downtown Baltimore, a city whose street corners are sometimes open-air drug markets or refuges for the homeless?” Catherine Mahan and Scott Rykiel write. (Baltimore landscape architecture firm Mahan Rykiel Associates, Inc. designed the garden.)
“Although the prayer garden in Baltimore may not be conducive to quiet meditation or contemplation, any venue is fitting for prayer,” another reader writes. A reader completing her master’s thesis on designing spiritual spaces emphatically disagrees: “Would I pray in this garden? The answer is NO.”
So, I’ve got to ask (nursery-rhyme style): Mary, Mary, quite contrary / from where does true prayer flow? Would you pray in a public garden? Even next to a parking ramp?
Source: Landscape Architecture
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