Reclaiming Public Space

The No Impact Man has an article up today about his participation in Park(ing) Day. The whole concept is interesting, and I wish I had been in New York to participate, but I was especially interested in the way people responded to the event. As he says, he felt as if her were going to a rally – until he got there. Once the mini-park was set up, it felt like a block party.

I suppose I find this especially cool because it ties in with my recent post about public art.  Today, one of my art class canvased the sidewalk outside the art building with chalk designs. It was really fun, spending a few hours in the sun to beautify the area. More important, though, was the response we got. People stopped to talk to us while we work. Everyone who drove or walked by was entranced by the designs.

Both of these cases beg a simple question: why don’t we as a society do more to make our surroundings beautiful. New York is built around cars. My campus is, sometimes, designed more around efficiency then aesthetics. Most often, it wouldn’t take much – apparently as little as some chalk or a 12 x 8 foot patch of turf, to make everyone able t enjoy their living space that much more.

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