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June 5, 2006

Money for nothing, parks for free

Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn poses a question that gets at the heart of Brooklyn:

Did You Ever Wonder...
...why Brooklyn Bridge "Park" needs to be self-sustaining, but Forest City Ratner's Skyscraper City doesn't?

Good question. Since when do parks have to be self sustaining? That's what our tax dollars are for. Are we really leaning towards a vision of the future with high-rise condos in Prospect or Central Park?

Consider the bits of green space that are supposed to knit together the private residences ringing Grand Army Plaza and the public plaza itself. The "berms," as they are called, are considered so dangerous to public safety that they are fenced off and they illustrate the difficulty of designing the transition between private and public space.

On a regular city street, a sidewalk does the trick. But in a park, there is no street and the walkways do not serve the same function. Can you really create a private space in a park and maintain full public access? How do you design the transition between the private and public spaces?

If it doesn't work, then the park will quickly become a publicly subsidized amenity for the condo class, another variation on the superblock... which sounds like another project we know.

Posted by lumi at June 5, 2006 7:40 AM