June 10, 2011 at 11:24 am #162370
^ LIKEJune 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm #162369
I don’t “dis” the homeless or go to church on Sunday. I’m also not an intolerant nazi. My opinion, based on observation and experience, is that parks should not be designed to accomodate the needs of the homeless and that by doing so, you encourage their presence. Their presence in turn introduces unwanted elements such as drugs, theft and violence, to a park that is intended to be enjoyed by everyone (not just an elite few homeless).
If you want to design parks for the homeless, then design a park for the homeless. I’m fine with that. Provide camp sites, showers, restrooms, etc. Give them a safe community and use it as a tool to get them back on their feet. Give them an environment intolerant of drugs and violence and give them the opportunity to contribute to their own betterment.
My guess is that you wouldn’t have many “homefull” people visiting that park though…June 10, 2011 at 1:38 pm #162368
I would seriously review precedents that incorporate all social classes. Central Park is a good start.June 10, 2011 at 2:17 pm #162367
Um, yeah, I live in Chicago. Being elitist scum I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Lincoln Park and Millennium Park, as well as less desirable public parks (Garfield, Jackson). I’ve observed the differences in trash, graffiti, drug paraphernalia, demographics, etc. etc.
Do you really think Central Park “incorporates” all social classes or is the presence of homeless people an accepted reality of any urban park? Furthermore, don’t you think the largest urban park in the US is much more capable of carrying a homeless population than a small neighborhood park in the city. It is very much a matter of scale. IE if a few of the thousand available benches are occupied by sleeping homeless, it has much less impact on the experience of other users than if 4 out of 6 benches in a small park are occupied by sleeping/intoxicated/mentally ill homeless. Thanks for the suggestion though… sounds like you should visit some local pocket parks.June 10, 2011 at 2:30 pm #162366
Thomas, haven’t you ever gone backpacking ?- one always ends up spending time in some park; backpacking is a time when a lot of us experience a low level of homelessness…How does the cop differentiate between the backpacker and the itinerant homeless person? Wouldn’t one want to err on the side of less police state, rather than batons and arrests for all? And similarly, how does the designer differentiate between your grandmother wanting an afternoon air on the bench, and the h omeless? They are humans, their design requirements are simply those of humans..
We do have one guy in our office who refuses to put benches in our rest areas..Only seat walls..I wrote about that already – I think as inconvenient it would be for grandma not to have a bench, it is the same inconvenience the homeless. person who made it to these rest areas would experience.
Pooping in the fountain is something else entirely. I also remembered the fountain at the Phildelphia Museum of art, which I fell in fully clothed with my puppy one hot summer day in Philly..the fountains were full of kids, city kids, havng a great time..
are they dry now, the art museum fountains? I wonder why that happened..(to introduce an element for the other side to argue with!)June 10, 2011 at 2:31 pm #162365
When Central Park was originally conceived it was designed for all social classes and FLO’s writings confirm this design intention. The whole parks movement in the US is based on class conciousness and a desire to uplift all members of a community.
Design intention and end use are two different stories though as my original response to this thread illustrates. I think, perhaps, an inclussive approach to design would fair better than a purposely exclussive approach.June 10, 2011 at 5:21 pm #162364
I have back packed in national and state parks… never in the local park… (well, except carrying a weighted pack for training) though when I did some solo-bicycle touring in Europe, I definitely stopped in local parks, used the water fountain, enjoyed a bench seat in the shade of a tree… and then I moved on. I guess that’s how you differentiate between grandma and the homeless. Grandma wants to visit a park and enjoy a connection to nature and her community and then she goes home to play bridge. Neither grandma nor I have any intention of LIVING in the park. Even though when traveling by bike, I was for all intents and purposes homeless, I kept my gear neat, tried not to stink too bad (which wasn’t always possible), didn’t beg or harass people and cleaned up after myself.
I like the idea of designing parks for “people”. That’s the best way to put it. Yes, homeless people are people too. They have a right to visit parks but they don’t have a right to live there or to make others uncomfortable.June 10, 2011 at 5:29 pm #162363
Christopher, you can’t be that naive. Landscape Architects spew touchy feely, social equality jargon to SELL parks. Public parks are built with tax dollars so in order to get the public’s approval, everyone needs to feel welcome. What happens after the park is built is a very different story. Do you think it’s any coincidence that some of the most valuable real estate in the country can be found adjacent to Central Park, The Golden Gate Park or Lincoln Park? Who do you think those parks are really serving? That’s right; the developers and real estate investors. I have no problem with that but let’s be honest about it…June 10, 2011 at 5:44 pm #162362
I don’t think it’s naivity at all really.June 10, 2011 at 6:00 pm #162361
wow, Thomas, incredibly cynical..Olmsted (sp?) specifically wanted his parks to provide access to nature that only rich people could previously afford – he specifically cited democratic (in the universal sense, not the party sense) values, in his design of the parks..And man, if you have ever lived next to a great park, the values promoted are truely used universally…picnics for extended families that take up entire h ill-sides, in Prospect Park –
perhaps you are joking, or playing devils advocate for giggles? You can’t possible say Prospect Park or even Central, which is a bit better maintained, serves only rich people..Shakespeare (sp?) in the park is FREE! Concerts in the bandshells are free! I used to lead tours that were offered to all Brooklyn schoolchildren, for free, as part of the Urban nature programs..
I think you are just trying to cause a ruckus..June 10, 2011 at 8:22 pm #162360Jason T. RadiceParticipant
In all my years of going to NYC, I have NEVER seen homeless in Central Park. I highly doubt it was even a consideration or issue when Olmsted and Vaux designed it, as it was built on land that was essentially encampments. Those people were simply removed. The Central Park of old was a drug/homeless haven during the 70’s and 80’s when it earned the reputaion of not a nice place to visit. Crime was rampant, even during broad daylight. The Central Park of today is very highly patrolled, and closes a 1am. After that (and/or if you have alcohol at any time), you will be arrested. The Park Police mean business, too.
Millenium Park in Chicago is essentially private, with private security, and it, too closes. The guards will tell you to move on if they don’t like the way you look. This is done to protect the very expensive physical attributes park (and the artwork) as well as for the safety of those who use it.The guards prevent crime, keep the park clean, and make keep it enjoyable for Chicagoans, meaning it is a very used park because the public feels safe.
Ironically, Thomas brings up a good point with regards to scale. On my last visit to NYC, I went to see Thomas Balsley’s Capitol Park and surprisingly, there was a someone who took up residence in the park. They were camping out on the linear benches of the elevated area along the orange screen. This was an ideal place as the overgrown bamboo provided an great hiding spot. This was the exact condition Olin corrected at Bryant Park (need I remind you of that transformation from hell hole to asset?) You need to see into all areas of these parks to make them safe, and the bamboo was a VERY poor choice of plant material. And, this park is gated at night. Unfortunately, this seems to be the fate of a few of the Balsley Parks I had visited that day.
Where this behavior is tolerated (mostly in the Pacific Northwest), there are parks where you dare not go into because of the homeless population and rampant crime and drugs. And they say we need MORE park land! No…simply clean up the ones you have!
The need for shelters is indeed great, why? There is no excuse for someone to sleep in park.Homelessness unfortunately has become an acceptable lifestyle choice to many (likw any bad behavior, it is unknowingly supported by those who tolerate/enable it). Many cities have come to the conclusion that it decreases the quality of life, which is why more and more are choosing to remove the homeless from parks, banning feeding in parks, forcing shelters to move out of populated and downtown areas (or out of business altogether), banned panhandling and installed old parking meters that you can donate your change to to running shelters rather than buying drugs. The idea is to not condone the behavior and allow it to happen. It is a lifestyle choice for many, and these people take up the resources for those who really need the help as they cannot help themselves (mentally ill), there is usually family that will take them in once their situation is brought to light.
A great poet once wrote “Our causes can’t see their effects.” Think about that.
Kind of interesting how a discussion about feces in a fountain has devolved into this…June 10, 2011 at 9:23 pm #162359
Jason, you may be right about Central, but you are wrong about Prospect Park. First, it is a myth how dangerous the eighties were – I was there, every day, dog cocktail parties every day, and it was about the same danger level as it is now..
Secondly, people use to SLEEP IN these parks, if you know your New York history – you could see droves of people who came out of their hot brownstones to spend the night in the cool park landscape..
Olmsted def. did not object to that..
sorry, bud, you wrong.
And the little I have been in Central, I can show you a couple of lovely granite rocks surrounded by rhodies where homeless made their homes – really, Jason, NEVER seen any homeless in Central? You are kidding, of course..June 10, 2011 at 9:43 pm #162358
I just don’t have the same absolute condemnation for sleeping in public parks, having done it all over Europe myself, that you have Jason…..Sometimes ya just got to, and it is not the worst thing in the world..If JKK rowlings didn’t get a couple of years in sleeping in parks, we may not have Harry Potter now..
and I really don’t know where in America you live, Jason, where the public parks are so rampant with crime and drugs – even L’enfant Plaza is reasonably agreeable these days – that was a place in the eighties that was really nasty..
ps, I love abstract arguments with no consequences..thanks for the ‘department of argument ‘ for the day for me..
the two americas, as they say – mine is not yours, Jason..but hopefully when we m eet on that park bench, when we are old, you will not be waving your billy club and demanding that you know why I feel I have a right to linger .June 10, 2011 at 10:00 pm #162357
I mean Lafayette Park, not L’enfant Plaza..as an example of a NASTY place in the eighties..June 10, 2011 at 10:09 pm #162356Jason T. RadiceParticipant
Never seen homeless in Central Park, not even in the Rambles.
There is a bit of difference between sleeping in the park and LIVING in the park. I’ve seen people napping in the park, but not with a stolen shopping cart or creating a shelter with boxes and tarpaulins, breaking a street light bases to steal electricity to have TV and computers.They ain’t just sleeping there for one night.
Parks have gotten cleaner and safer over the years in many cities because the citizenry demanded the city clean them up and do something about the homeless population/druggies. They will not tolerate the behavior any longer.
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