Modernity and globalization have significantly reduced geographical distances, transformed social interactions, and accelerated the flow of information across nations, which has, in a sense, made the world more accessible to people everywhere. However, it's important to note that when we say "everyone," we refer to a vast and diverse population. Modernity and globalization had an impact on noticeable inequalities in both social and technological realms, as more advanced and privileged nations have established benchmarks and norms for leisure, culture, and consumption. As a result, certain cultures have established a dominant influence, promoting the notion that there is a "correct" way to live and build cities. This unchecked pursuit of development comes at a significant cost to the Earth's ecosystems and biomes.
Parks: The Latest Architecture and News
Architecture reconciles the sense of belonging and dignity of space. In addition to designing residential or cultural facilities, addressing public space in communities that inhabit vulnerable areas is also urgent and necessary to provide a dignified infrastructure that provides quality of life for the population. Therefore, we have gathered seven interventions in marginalized territories that show the potential for transformation from the space itself.
Playful cities promote play, leisure, and creativity in their public spaces and architecture. It offers opportunities for gatherings that help develop communities socially and culturally, improving the quality of life and providing essential elements for healthier and more balanced habits. They directly influence citizens' cognitive and emotional development by stimulating creativity and imagination through spaces designed for fun.
Besides reflecting the aspirations of a society, public spaces also configure the scenarios in which new ideas of coexistence and the collective can emerge from their qualities. Thinking about the streets, squares, parks, and even nature is a way of dealing with common ideals and ensuring the social dynamics in the relationship between bodies and the environment.
Urban public spaces can transform the life of neighborhoods and cities and, therefore, need to be open to the social, cultural and technological changes that occur in society. From urban vegetable gardens to pet spaces, from rain gardens to art pavilions, life in today's cities has created new demands and ways of using and appropriating public spaces.
In the 19th century, many Americans living in up-and-coming cities and towns oftentimes found themselves strolling through the winding paths of curated gardens, stopping to rest under the shade of a tree and share a picnic with family and friends. Dotted across the grassy areas were headstones, marking the burial locations of those who were laid to rest. While the concept of relaxing in a graveyard seems a bit taboo in the present day, it was sometimes the only option for people to find space for recreation and leisure and was one of the earliest examples of a public park. Many of the parks we have today were actually caused by the evolution and planning of historic cemeteries.
Extreme natural events are becoming increasingly frequent all over the world. Numerous studies indicate that floods, storms, and sea-level rise could affect more than 800 million people worldwide, ultimately costing cities $1 trillion per year by the middle of the century. This suggests that urban survival depends on addressing urban vulnerability as a matter of urgency to protect the city and the population.
The climate crisis has accentuated changes in the amount of rainfall, causing droughts or storms with large volumes of water, which result in floods that can cause great damage to urban infrastructure. To combat this, the sponge city is a solution that has a green infrastructure to operate the infiltration, absorption, storage and even purification of these surface waters.
Violent cities result from social and economic inequality, which also affects the urban landscape and the way we live. International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, so we have selected a series of projects to reflect on non-violent ways of using public space.
Have you ever wondered why chess sets can be found in parks and other public spaces and contemplated what their role is within these spaces? Studies have shown that sports and games work to reduce stress and improve the overall mental health of the public. Chess, one of world's most popular games, allows two people from anywhere on the globe to play regardless of language barriers, age, gender, physical ability, or social situation.
"Deck parks are increasingly in vogue in the Southwest’s downtown cores but aren’t a good fit for El Paso," writes Sito Negron. Recently a lot of cities around the world have been rethinking urban spaces dedicated to transportation, introducing public areas over highways while expanding the vehicular realm. In this week's reprint from the Architect's Newspaper, the author explores the limits of this trend and questions its implementation in some cases.
Linear parks exist in many different contexts - along riversides, coastal areas, or inserted in the urban fabric - and represent a very particular type of public space that evokes the idea of a vector and, consequently, the sense of movement. However, they can provide more than just activities and programs associated with mobility, proving to be an appealing solution to the lack of spaces for leisure, contemplation, and relaxation in the most varied urban situations.
Below, we have gathered 12 examples of linear parks built in different parts of the world, illustrated by photographs and floor plans.
If you are in a place impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, spending 20 minutes experiencing nature in a park, street, or even your backyard can significantly reduce your stress levels. Just be sure to follow federal, state, and local guidelines and maintain social distancing of 6 feet or 2 meters. But even if you cannot or are unable to go outside, taking a break by opening a window and looking at a tree or plant can also help de-stress.