Richard Rogers, offers his thoughts on public spaces stating, “When public spaces are eroded, our civic culture suffers, even our democracy.” Read his full article, on these honored spaces posted by CNN Style (Nov. 2016).
I am captivated by the concept of human-scale (or larger) art that aspires to incorporate found or re-purposed items; which I refer to as environmental public art. Patrick Dougherty ‘s “Stickwork” comes to mind. He weaves a story using found items that are intended to be returned to the land after a period of time.
James Doran-Webb uses drift wood to create masterful, public art displays along bodies of water. In the image below, each horse is comprised of approximately 400 pieces of driftwood varying in size.
In the spirit of embracing temporary, businesses and community leaders can join forces to extend seating (and activities) into the public realm with “parklets” or “pallet parks.” These small, mobile platforms are custom designed to fit into a parking space (or two) and incorporate a variety of available materials (wood, metal, grass, etc.). Suitable for rural or urban landscapes, they have the potential to increase seating, engage visitors and spark interest. Link to Inhabit’s slideshow of alternative designs and creative uses (bikes, pets, exhibits, yoga, gardens, small performances, etc.).
Identify an underused space and start the conversation in your community!
Sometimes threats, outside the control of a community can bring surprising unification such as in the case of a recovering from a natural disaster. In 2010 Christchurch, New Zealand was hit with an earthquake that resulting in $40 billion in damages. As a temporary rebuilding effort to unite residents and visitors in public spaces, the Blue Pallet Pavilion was erected. According to ArchitectureAU, “The idea was stimulated by two separate absences: a lack of small-to-medium-sized venues and community centers in the central city for live music, performances and other events, and a severe lack of imaginative post-quake temporary architecture in Christchurch. Gap Filler’s original concept was a temporary pavilion made from pallets, with basic amenities (lighting, audiovisual equipment, a stage). A small team of architecture graduates, mentored by a range of professionals, turned this concept into a fully developed design that could make it through a building consent process (March, 2014).”
Now after years of service to the community the space is being deconstructed to make way for another development opportunity.