Comment 18058

By highwater (registered) | Posted February 06, 2008 at 16:15:16

Using landscaping to discourage social interaction is tragic, and seems to run counter to Eisenberger's vision of a pedestrianized Gore, and everything we know about making streets safe, ie. 'eyes on the street', etc. I realize that removing the grass in this case is being proposed as a form of social control, but I still think it is worth considering. I posted the following over on the skyscraper pages:

Actually, I think removing the grass from Gore Park would be a good thing. Non-native turf grass of the type that's currently found in the Gore does little more for the environment than asphalt. When the soil is as hard and compacted as it is now, you get similar run off, not to mention the mowing, fertilizing, etc. James Kunstler refers to these types of 'greenspaces' as meaningless abstractions, and I agree. Socially, aesthetically, and environmentally, patches of bare turf grass are devoid of content. Grass belongs in large urban parks like Gage Park and Victoria Park. You need a certain amount of square footage per person in order to avoid trampling and soil compaction, and the Gore just isn't large enough to provide the amount of space needed to maintain 'healthy' turf for the numbers of people that congregate there, and the increased numbers we would like to see in the future. (I put 'healthy' in quotes because there's nothing particulary healthy about expanses of non-native turf grass IMO.)

You don't need grass to have a people-friendly place. Think of all those paved piazzas in Europe with nary a blade in sight. Attractive hard landscaping with lots of seating and beds with native shrubs and grasses would be better for the environment, much more attractive and interesting to look at, and if properly designed, much more conducive to social interaction.

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