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Thread: Useless green space

  1. #1
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Useless green space

    http://www.theonion.com/content/news...of_green_space

    OK, obviously this is an exaggeration, but have you ever demanded green space from a developer or in a plan that you knew would never be used by anyone?
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    It has also brought back the sound of laughter.

    "I didn't recognize it at first, it had been so long since I'd heard it," said Howard Cochrane, a lifelong resident. "But there it was, ringing out like sunshine from that Heller boy who lives down the way. To see him roll his ball back and forth over the same five inches of grass—it filled my tired heart with joy."
    Makes you wonder how old that child is.




  3. #3
    Cyburbian Richi's avatar
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    Often a % green or "natural" (the favorite around here) of open space serves nothing more than to add to sprawl. Here a 25% natural area is generally required for site plans. So you see long 2-ft wide strips of underbrush next to the street. It's "natural" don't you know? It was growing here when we built on the vacant lot, so it's got to be natural. Actually it's what was left over when the area was logged a decade or so ago. This is a city. I think it should look like one. Street trees would be far better.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian craines's avatar
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    Sometimes the importance of space should not be measured by the number of users.
    Looking for Sanity
    In this Crazy Land Of Ours

  5. #5
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    I think the Onion staff has been reading Buffalo Rising lately.

    When I saw that article, it reminded me of the hype that seems to go into the most minor of projects in Buffalo; practically everything is touted as being the salvation of a neighborhood or a city. It's not just BR, but everywhere.

    One comment from an article celebrating the opening of a donut shop[:

    Regardless of the business, having an occupied retail store front on such an important corner of downtown is the true victory. It is essential to tie the Theater and Chippewa Districts together more firmly so that people can easily hop back and forth. With a half of a block of empty storefronts and blank walls, that just cannot happen. Now with that highly visible corner generating attention, a continuity can form along Main and Chippewa Streets.
    Dunkin Donuts: the savior of retail in downtown Buffalo. :r

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Duke Of Dystopia's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by craines View post
    Sometimes the importance of space should not be measured by the number of users.
    But of how much use is a house sized "green space". Lets see:

    Yard for dog poop
    Gathering place for teenagers nobody likes
    small waste disposal area because nobody in the neighborhood owns it


    I am guessing there is a minimum size "green space" that is possible for effective use. Green space linking one development to another via trails not along streets seems to work ok, and adds to recreational value of a development. Many other ways to work it also but it should be useful in design.
    I can't deliver UTOPIA, but I can create a HELL for you to LIVE in :)DoD:(

  7. #7
    Cyburbian KSharpe's avatar
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    Hey, I was one of the teenagers that no one liked Of course, I just stayed in my room and wrote poems about boys I would never talk to.
    Do you want to pet my monkey?

  8. #8
    Chairman of the bored Maister's avatar
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    Useless green space? Useless? Shoot, I know just what I'd do if I lived in a place where there was a scrap of 'useless' green space out my front door.
    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=32670
    People will miss that it once meant something to be Southern or Midwestern. It doesn't mean much now, except for the climate. The question, “Where are you from?” doesn't lead to anything odd or interesting. They live somewhere near a Gap store, and what else do you need to know? - Garrison Keillor

  9. #9
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    There is a huge series of articles going on right now in the Rocky Mountain News regarding Colorado's conservation easement abuse by developers. Seems they dedicate this open space for massive tax credits, but rarely is it open for public benefit.

    -Sorry to partially hijack a humorous thread,

    signed,

    Buzz Killington.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Michele Zone's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by zmanPLAN View post
    There is a huge series of articles going on right now in the Rocky Mountain News regarding Colorado's conservation easement abuse by developers. Seems they dedicate this open space for massive tax credits, but rarely is it open for public benefit.

    -Sorry to partially hijack a humorous thread,

    signed,

    Buzz Killington.
    My reply was written when this thread was in the FAC, or I would not have said it. The other thought that occurred to me was that I recall reading somewhere (and I want to say it was something Jane Jacobs said, but I can't be sure) about a public housing project where the officials involved in building it and running it were oh-so-proud of the lawn and green space around it while the residents completely loathed it. The officials felt that the lawn basically raised the projects up to a similar status as a suburban single family home while the residents experienced it as useless, wasted space where crimes happened. I also remember a passage about 3 christmas trees going up in a housing project. The two in "private" (hardly trafficked) open spaces were quickly vandalized. The one in the central, most heavily trafficked open space was not.

    Jane Jacobs had some good things to say about parks being either an asset to an area or a problem based in large part on how useful and heavily trafficked they were.

  11. #11
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Just noticed this thread. This is the neighborhood where I live. One of the largest City Parks in the country is located in Warrendale. We hall have small yards and there are no bums sleeping on the sidewalk (they sleep in the alleys).

    I was immediately e-mail bombarded with this article when it came out.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  12. #12
    Cyburbian Plan-it's avatar
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    I am OK with "useless" open space. Areas that can be left in a undisturbed state that will not get screwed up by human overuse is OK with me. Isn't this why there is a difference between parks and open space?
    Satellite City Enabler

  13. #13
    Cyburbian
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    Thank you Richi and Michele Zone! A percentage-based set-aside requirement, all by itself, can be creatively obeyed without actually creating any public space or preserving any healthy habitat (a la Richi's brush strips.) And even when a solid chunk of park or open space really is set aside, its design, placement, and pedestrian traffic make or break it more than what percentage of the development it takes up. (See MZ's post, and yes, you remember right, it was Jane Jacob's Death and Life...) I think that new developments, and even better new or revised zoning designations, should still include minimum percentages of parkland or open space. But, those percentages should come with requirements in design and placement to ensure that the parks/spaces work. I can't really come up with any detailed requirements here, because every place has different needs/goals (recreation, habitat preservation) and different contexts (inner urban, outer urban, suburban, small town.) But maybe all of this is something to keep in mind?

  14. #14
          Downtown's avatar
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    We have a 35% greenspace requirement (that can be reduced through incentive zoning provisions down to 15%). We also have a requirement that 5% of the interior space of parkign lots must be landscaped. No - nobody is going to sit under a tree in the Walgreen's parking lot, but it does break up the view of the asphalt.

    I agree - if its not viable public space, or wetlands, or used for stormwater management (a huge issue in NYS right now), or to screen parking/dumpsters/HVAC units - it isn't critical to have it.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian mgk920's avatar
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    This reminds me of some apartment/condomini(m)um rules sheets that I have seen, where they are so strict about not being able to enjoy the green space (other than to look at it) that you wonder if you can even WALK on the lawn without getting evicted.

    Mike

  16. #16
    "Green Space" Is one of the most dangerous urban design terms ever invented. It is used to suggest that anything green is good which is often untrue. Many times the "Green Space" is the real problem.

    Check out this story I wrote here http://archives.buffalorising.com/st...rban_view_rene

    and a related one here http://archives.buffalorising.com/st...ldings_two_for

  17. #17
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    A planner in the local county office did his master's thesis on a grail-like search for a nationally common definition of "open space", greenage not even considered.

    Findings, nada. Just a bunch of opinions very locally conditioned.

    Green. Does green assume open?

    An amatuer hydrologist I know links the loss of tree cover to drought.

    In our neck (fringe of Atlanta metro) of woods tree cover loss has been very high over the past couple of decades, as has been the decline of annual rainfall.

    In fact, the Chattahoochee basin is being strained to its possible limits to supply Atlanta's galloping growth, as shown by the extreme drop of water level in the city's main water supply reservoir, Lake Lanier.

  18. #18
    here's one solution: http://i.treehugger.com/files/th_images/parkwheel.jpg

    ... but seriously, small amounts of green space have other benefits and they're not always directly of human interaction; native landscaping increasing overall biodiversity of species in the area, drainage benefits i.e. a roadside bioswale, or as Maister pointed out; a garden!

    ...now the trick is in case of landscaped parking lot requirements, getting developers to actually design it to drain INTO the green patch, not put a curb around it so it dies off and has to be replanted all the time.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian fringe's avatar
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    One concern among riverkeeper and urban forester types in our area is to try and keep/restore "wildlife corridors" so that much of the life we never see due to our hurry-up-ism won't be isolated and killed off thereby. In that kind of view almost all greenspace is useful.

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