New York Times recently published When Parks Must Rely on Private Money by DIANE CARDWELL concerning the struggles of cities to fund the construction and maintenance of parks throughout the USA. Many parks are funded through selling of land or revenues generated by carparks or taxes from new nearby developments and others are funded by residents and companies donating funds in return for naming rights or plaques. Cardwell cites examples of parks that have been constructed with the use some private funding including Millennium Park in Chicago and the Highline and with the tradeoff causing issues in some cities.
The article stimulated a few ideas I have had during my career. I find that funding of new or redevelopment of parks is a often a fine line between private and public funding, which often blurs the line between public and private space. Private funding often causing issues with residents because of naming or commercial activities in the new park that create a private area.
An ever-growing trend for cities around the world is to justify the cost of construction and maintenance of parks through inclusion of private funding or commercial activities such as paid parking garages, retail shops, restaurants, or areas that are commercialised for entertainment(concerts, festivals, etc). How to strike a balance between private and public funding is very complicated process for each city and requires research and consultation.
Many cities find it hard to redevelop parks with the use of public money as it is often controversial as parks are sometimes seen by residents as non-essential. Residents see hospitals, schools, and police as essential services within the community whereas parks are seen as non-essential and that public monies would be better spent on other services. To avoid this cities seek private funding in return for naming rights or a commercial development on or near the park. Now the question is how far to go with private funding and how much is the park compromised by accepting the funding in return for naming right or commercial development?
This issue of public and private funding will become more and more prevalent around the world as developers of retail and residential developments blur the line between public and private space by creating spaces in developments that are town squares and parks that can be accessed by the public. This blurring will cause some confusion with city residents as to what is public space and what is private. It also raises the question – Are developers going to develop parks and maintain them or will it always remain the domain of the local government?
Private development of public parks as apart of residential developments or commercial developments, which are then handed to government after certain period is already occurring in some parts of the world. Will this become a growing trend across cities for small and large parks? Or will it remain only in residential developments?
Industrial-sized dumpsters, mini skips, a shipping container and exotic aquatic weeds are the four key elements in the exhibition garden being designed by Christchurch-based international designer Craig Pocock for this year’s Ellerslie International Flower Show.
“As landscape architects, we should be aiming to create landscapes with longevity that will survive changing demographics, community growth and fashion trends. Our landscapes need to be timeless designs that serve a community well for decades to make the most of the embodied energy costs that comes with creating and maintaining a landscape, especially our urban spaces”.
The award winning Federal Plaza designed by Martha Schwartz is going to get a new design as the plaza is reconstructed over a 12-18 month period to fix the plaza deck that is settling and leaking affecting the building and carpark below the plaza.
The current design of swirling green benches designed by Martha Schwartz will be removed and replaced by magnolia trees, low evergreen plantings, marble benches and a fountain designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates (MVVA).
The Tribeca Trib recently reported about Matthew Urbanski’s (a principal with MVVA) presentation of the new design to Community Board 1’s Seaport/Civic Center Committee.
Much of the design, Urbanski said, was influenced by the “microclimate” of the plaza, which receives too much sun in the summer and too little in the winter, plus a wind tunnel effect along Worth Street. The magnolia trees are positioned at the northern end of the plaza where they can provide shade and some shielding from winter winds.
The Organising Committee of the Ideas Competition for Bruce Lee’s Residence announced the results for The Ideas Competition for Bruce Lee’s residence, launched on July 20, 2009, aimed to turn the former residence of the late Mr Bruce Lee into an attraction to commemorate Mr Lee’s contribution to martial arts and the film industry.
The competition was open to all in Hong Kong, the Mainland and overseas countries and comprised two categories – the Professional Group and the Open Group. Over 140 entries were received from across the world and local team Cheung Kwai-yin and landscape architect Jimmy Yuen, won in the professional category of the design contest. The design, titled Journey of the Little Dragon, features a vaulting exhibition hall with an undulating ceiling, and a mirrored room named Tower of Death.
An roving exhibition of all the entries is available at Hong Kong City Hall from January 23 to February 4, Hong Kong Cultural Centre from February 9 to 16, and Shatin Town Hall from February 23 to March 6.
Submissions were received from all over the world from a wide range of artists, designers, and architects, including emerging as well as established practitioners. Among the many works in the exhibition are projects by artists Alice Aycock, FAKE DESIGN (Ai Weiwei), Anish Kapoor, Sarah Morris, Wangechi Mutu, Mike Nelson, Paul Pfeiffer, Doris Salcedo, Lawrence Weiner, and Rachel Whiteread; designers such as Fernando and Humberto Campana, Martí Guixé, Joris Laarman Studio, and Studio Job; and architects such as Álvaro Siza Vieira Arquitecto, BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), Greg Lynn FORM, junya.ishigami+associates, MVRDV, N55, Philippe Rahm, Snøhetta, Studio Daniel Libeskind, Toyo Ito & Associates, Architects, and West 8. In addition to the exhibition in the Thannhauser and Annex Level 4 galleries, Contemplating the Void will be accompanied by a comprehensive exhibition Web site, which will document each submission and feature introductory essays texts by Nancy Spector and David van der Leer.