Parks in the Realm of Landscapes and Infrastructures

Are parks landscapes or infrastructures -- or can they be both? This question is broached in this wide-reaching interview on the role of parks in cities with landscape architect Gerdo Aquino.
March 18, 2011, 12pm PDT | Nate Berg
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Aquino, president and principal of SWA Los Angeles studio, discusses the fundamental question of what a park is and what it should be.

"Nam- In terms of maximizing these sorts of multi-use, multi-programmed, multi-functionality, infrastructures, I was talking with a friend the other day, and he was saying, "Why does it have to always be a park?". I responded to my friend that given the generally low per-capita ratio in many urban areas, off access to green, open space, "why not a park?". What would you have said to my friend?

Gerdo- I would have probably posed another question to him back, "what is a park?", and when asked this question, many people don't have a quick response. They think it is a) a trick question or b) that I am crazy. At USC, the landscape architecture and architecture students are all asking ourselves that question. What is a park? Does a park have to be green? Is a park, Central Park in NYC? You can look at Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle, and it's basically a ramp. Parks have started to become this ambiguous thing, a cure-all for what ails the city. I think it is a bit more than that. I think architects, landscape architects and planners are going to have to figure out what are the issues. And you brought up the per-capita issue of access to open space. Here in Los Angles, there is such a place. I think it has the lowest per-capita ratio in all of California. Just East of Hollywood."

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Published on Tuesday, March 15, 2011 in Archinect
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