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parks versus carparks

September 29th, 2021


I have designed so many car parks that I can lay one out by hand at 1:500 without a scale rule. 

By contrast I have designed one public park that has been built - Mansfield Park in Partick, which only went as far as phase one before funding ran out. It still sits tauntingly incomplete every time I go past it. Landscape architecture students design parks at university but we rarely get to do it real life. Recently, students from the Mac interviewing at erz have brought in designs for buildings on "my" park - used as a project site because it looks unfinished or empty or just a bit crap - ouch! The drawings for the complete park are still available, if anyone could help finish it...

We need funding for old and new parks - a great source of new sites could be car parks.  As part of COP 26 Glasgow should turn some carparks into parks. A COP26 legacy plan for removing carparks and replacing them with parks could start at King Street/St Enoch - our Dear Green Place has no permanent city centre park. Here is my rational for this:

Uses for car parks

Storing cars

Uses for parks

Walking, strolling, skipping, cycling, snogging, handstands, running, meeting friends, playing sport, paddling, swimming, climbing trees, watching birds, watching people, resting, respite, sanctuary, keeping fit, keeping in touch, playing with friends, swinging, barbeques, picnics, a quick coffee, a large icecream, school trips, riding a horse, breathing fresh air, taking a shortcut, growing plants, growing food, foraging for wild garlic, skimming stones, teenage kicks, building a den, sledging, snowmen, mudslides, skinnydips, playing tig, frisbee, flying a kite, flying a drone, flying down a hill shouting ack ack, roly-poly, finding a worm, flirting, forest school, forest bathing, watching an otter, counting butterflies, building a bug hotel, pond dipping, frogspawn stealing, scrumping apples, commemorating your dad with a park bench, sitting on a park bench with your dad, graffiti, parkour, buggyfit, tai chi, green gym, waterfalls, sculptures, public art, fountains, rare plants, daisychains, sustainable drainage, active travel, funfairs, festivals, bandstands, buskers, boozing on a sunny day off work, rose-gardens, flagpoles, fireworks, bonfire nights, new year, midsummer, puddle-jumping, wintergardens…skateboarding, memorials, monuments, viewpoints, shelter, clean air, carbon capture, regeneration of derelict land, stargazing, mushrooms, dog walking, scooting and - in Glasgow in particular - Clydesdale Horses, ravines and cliffs, weirs and dams, police dogs, rowing clubs, museums, stately homes, fairy trails, vegetable gardens, bridges, botanic collections, squirrels, monkey puzzle trees, trails and panoramas.

Parks are the social glue of communities, binding us together through play, tying us to the natural systems that are integral to our survival and reminding us of our humanity and place in this world. 


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