At a large common table at a fave coffee shop early last year, I spied a man alternating between working intensely on his computer, and furiously sketching on a pair of canvas Vans. (Okay, spied is a bit dramatic, he was sitting right across from me!) Honestly, I was mesmerized by his drawings… their color, abstraction and dimension. His focus. His switching between computer work and sketching. I was desperately trying to figure out how to surreptitiously take a photo of the whole thing… but I’m not so good at that. (I always forget the sound is on when I try to take a secret picture… busted!)Continue Reading Cool Freaking Shoes, Publishing, & Third Places
Parks and other types of urban green spaces are often perceived as nice-to-haves rather than must-haves. However, as I have argued and shared in numerous articles (like Nurturing Neighborhoods), urban green spaces contribute significantly to the quality of life in communities and offer benefits well beyond their boundaries. For those who share this perspective or want to learn more about the relationship between parks and health equity, I suggest reading the book Urban Green Spaces – Public Health and Sustainability in the United States (2019) by Viniece Jennings, Matthew H. E. M. Browning, and Alessandro Rigolon. The intended audience for the book includes researchers, students, and practitioners in urban planning, parks and recreation, public health, and other fields. As a park planner and ‘plannerd,’ I found this book to be a page-turner and finished it in one sitting during a flight. Highlighted below are three issues that stood out to me:Continue Reading Book Review: Urban Green Spaces
The following account is from Adam McLane. He is a San Diego internet and digital marketing entrepreneur and a christian pastor. Like many in the border city, he was a frequent visitor to Mexico. As a result, he witnessed the humanitarian crisis unfolding at the border and felt compelled to aid the refugees. He occasionally posts updates on his Facebook page. He posted the following testimonial on June 22, 2019.
Nature is everywhere in Los Angeles. That is the main message you will get from reading the new book “Wild LA: Explore the Amazing Nature in and Around Los Angeles” released by Timber Press. While we may all be aware that wildlife can be found in the Santa Monica Mountains or the Angeles National Forest, many of us probably do not think of Los Angeles as an area of incredible biological diversity. But the truth is that there is a tremendous diversity of species in L.A. and there are many stories to tell, according to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and the authors of the book: Lila Higgins, Dr. Gregory B. Pauly, Dr. Jason G. Goldman, and Charles Hood.Continue Reading Book Review: Wild LA
Have you heard of mobile recreation? Essentially, this is the idea of bringing recreational resources to communities, especially those that lack parks. UCLA professor Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris was perhaps ahead of her time when she said in 1995 that “the ever-changing urban form and social ecology of neighborhoods calls for a flexible rather than rigid park design and for spatial layouts that can be easily changed in response to future needs… One can even think of mobile parks-spaces whose equipment and furniture can be transported to other parts of the city if the need arises.”Continue Reading Meeting Park Needs Through Mobile Recreation
A district citizens’ group from East Harlem, in anticipation of a meeting it had arranged with the Mayor and his commissioners, prepared a document recounting the devastation wrought in the district by remote decisions (most of them well meant, of course), and they added this comment: “We must state how often we find that those of us who live or work in East Harlem, coming into daily contact with it, see it quite differently from . . . the people who only ride through on their way to work, or read about it in their daily papers, or, too often, we believe, make decisions about it from desks downtown.” I have heard almost these same words in Boston, in Chicago, in Cincinnati, in St. Louis. It is a complaint that echoes and re-echoes in all our big cities [emphasis added].
Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961)
Dateline: January 1968, New Delhi. “Beautiful city, people friendly, but very crowded, solid people in the parks, living in the fort, camped out in the railroad station.”
Dateline: January 2019, Mumbai. “There are very few beggars on the streets, unlike the hordes of homeless in San Francisco and other American cities.”
“That’s a walk in the park!” Most of us are familiar with this expression which is used to describe something that is very easy to do. Ironically, a walk to a park may actually not be a walk in the park for a variety of reasons. For example, there may not be a park within walking distance (typically defined as a half-mile) from one’s home. There may also be physical and social barriers that often make walking to parks challenging and undesirable, such as a lack of infrastructure like sidewalks and crosswalks, traffic safety concerns like speeding vehicles, and crime issue like the presence of gangs. Continue Reading A Walk to the Park
Light is not often the first thing that one thinks of when considering the built environment, but in fact, as to the photographer, light is a primary ingredient to the success of any site design. In contrast to other professions that utilize light, the impact of light on the built environment is constantly in flux. In its complexity there are three types of light: continuous, absorptive and emissive. In the science of the light spectrum, the fact is that light behaves like a wave and is defined by its wavelength frequency. Simply put, light of different wavelengths is perceived as different colors.Continue Reading How the Spectrum of Light can be used in Landscape Architecture
Have you heard of “nature-deficit disorder“? Coined by author and journalist Richard Louv, the term refers to possible negative consequences to individual health and the social fabric as children stay more time indoors and away from physical contact with the natural world. Continue Reading Nature for Neighborhoods