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A community park

"Cities are where us “grown-ups” play at leading meaningful and enjoyable lives, so it may be helpful (if anecdotal) to think of playgrounds as the staging areas for the cities of tomorrow. If we want bustling, creative cities full of the surprise and serendipity that makes urban life so enjoyable, we might want to start thinking about playgrounds as microcosmic multi-use destinations."
from Brendan Crain's post on the Project for Public Space blog

My neighbors and I are excited about parks, and about community, and about demonstrating a commitment to both outwardly. We want to re-name the park we are working hard to re-imagine as Reynolds Community Park. 

This feels like an opportunity not to be missed. A period in the history of my neighborhood when choices are made that determine the look, feel, vibe, and sensibility of the place. It's a time of deliberate place-making.

One way to make a statement is by defining the space and welcoming people into it. I'd like to create an archway using the existing chain link fence. There are other ways to make the park into a vibrant community hub without necessarily spending more City money (though we'd take it...).

Urban planning people are excited by the power of 10. They say that a city needs 10 major destinations, each destination needs 10 places, and each place needs 10 things to do. 

10 things to do currently at Reynolds Community Park:
- play a game, like kickball, ultimate frisbee, baseball or whatever you like
- watch bike polo
- swing
- read 
- eat an ice cream cone from nearby Madtown Pizza, a taco from the cart outside Breese Stevens Field when the Madison 56ers have a game, or sip a coffee from Johnson Public House
- fly a kite
- play with your dog
- play guitar
- have a picnic
- watch construction trucks

A few more things I hope you can do there in the future:
- climb a hill
- talk to your neighbors
- hear a band
- watch a movie
- listen to a presentation
- find out what's happening from a neighborhood kiosk
- look at a map of neighborhood landmarks
- take a picture of art with the Capitol in the background
- pick fruit
- sit on a funky bench that makes conversation with your mates a breeze....

This is the bench I'm wanting so bad to build....


Don't you want to sit here with me?!?!?

The "Principles of Placemaking," which are celebrated for being "light, quick, and cheap" are to 1) let ideas emerge from the community, 2) facilitate experiments, and 3) consider investing in ideas that work.

I am meeting with an urban design planner with the City of Madison next week to talk about all this stuff. I can't wait to share our ideas, hear hers, and see what kinds of creative riffing happens.

"Unstructured play is having a moment, and moments are meant to be seized." 
---again, Brendan Crain, the Project for Public Space

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