Cambridge city often boasts about how people living here enjoy abundance of public parks. Yes, it is true that we are not short of parks here but have we thought about for whom? It is stated as ‘public’ park, but while discussing egalitarian public park design, we came to realize that the term ‘public’ is often used in very UN-egalitarian way.
For example, many public parks in the midst of middle class houses are designed mostly for lifestyles of families with kids. Playgrounds with swings comprise substantial area and kids usually play around screaming. Where should a person with no kid who wants a quite park suitable for reading go, if there are only parks for kids? On the other hand, in the neighborhood where population of African American is higher, the public parks seem to have far more basketball courts than average. Stated as public, but aren’t these parks results of stereotypes? What if a black kid wants to play soccer instead?
With these uncomfortable questions in mind, we designed (well… tried) this egalitarian public park: COMMUNITY ARENA (FOR ALL). This park is a public park, but it starts with an idea of not strictly defining ‘public.’
Single guy who likes to read alone at night (You see? It sounds a little bit weird if you add a phrase like ‘on a swing.’ But what’s wrong with reading at night in a park?), a senior person who needs occasional walk in a wood, moms who would like yoga class during the days, a black boy who wants to play hockey (instead of basketball) can all come to a park we designed and find whatever they need. This is possible with modular design that allow a park to change by pushing a buttons installed in the park with each set of features. For example, if one pushes the button written ‘soccer field’, basketball courts will transform to the soccer fields. (It might have some kind of laser technology machine to drawn lines for an appropriate occasion.)
We don’t want people to fight over the feature, so reservation systems must be built. In addition, it should be made sure that community people will have strong voices over which set of modules will be installed.
Sure it sounds fancy, right? It is like TD Stadium (where they transform ice hockey rink to basketball court in relatively short time) in your neighborhood!
However and of course, it sure will need too much of a budget.