Wishful Thinking – Part 2: Parks in the Triangle

Some of the most exciting urban opportunities created by Pierre L’Enfant’s vision of DC come in the form of pocket parks; formed where the diagonal avenues meet the orthagonal street grid of our capitol city. The Triangle has not one or two but several of these parks.
Parc Citroen – Paris (Courtesy of vincent.m on flickr)

Having spent the past year in Paris there is a special place in my heart that understands and yearns for the full potential of these spaces. Currently these parks serve but a portion of the Triangle’s population, some of them crazy and some of them four-legged. I have yet to see a good cross section of the Triangle’s population enjoying these little pockets of green in our neighborhood. 

Millenium Park – Chicago (Courtesy of eddieq on flickr)

Perhaps the problem lies in the lack of adequate landscape, hardscape and streetscape. Why don’t we take a look at some beautiful parks across the world for inspiration as to what these prime pieces of urban greenery can be if we dedicate ourselves to the public realm of our neighborhood.
Paley Park – New York City (Courtesy of chrislworships on flickr)

To be continued…
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  1. 1

    fourthandeye says

    These pocket parks like the ones at 5th and Eye are great in that they soften the feeling off living in a concrete village by introducing some green. But they are small an I can’t imagine comparing them to the parks in your images (Millenium park, Parc Citroen). As far as downtown DC goes, Franklin Square might be more apples-to-apples comparison to those in the images.

    I would add that by appearances the pocket parks in Capitol Hill seem to be better attended to than the parks on the Mass Ave edge of the Triangle. Perhaps as more and more residents move to the Triangle we can put some sweat equity, donations as well as approach the city government to get the same level of grooming done to these small parks.

  2. 2

    mediocre bad guy says

    You’re right, I wasn’t trying to compare the parks in their entirety, but rather the special more intimate instances that occur within them. What makes all three of those examples successful is their ability to engage the pedestrian and cause him to pause and linger.

    We need a little more lingering downtown, I’m tired of seeing people with blackberries rushing everywhere!

    (I’m tired of being one of those people too)

  3. 3

    Cary says

    The reason the pocket parks are in such bad shape is that most are under the ownership and maintenance of the National Park Service. Yes, those tiny little parks must compete for resources (both maintenance and police) with the National Mall and monuments. I’ve proposed as park of my agenda for the city a push to get control over our pocket parks. Getting a small local park renovated should not require an act of Congress.