parks

When I was studying landscape architecture, we would talk about ‘what is a park?”  In inner city Baltimore, where I was studying, there was a dearth of proper parks. Some pocket parks and such were sprinkled around the city.  Working in an urban studies focused program, we tried to find solutions to these problems of lack of green space, and even lack of grocery stories.  i recall learning how important green spaces are for people, especially children. And throughout the city, people did make an effort with small front yards, often transforming these small plots into beautiful gardens. 

Here in Mostar, near the center, is a beautiful park, with swaths of green grass, playground, trees, and a pedestrian ( mostly!) paved street running next to the park. Yet, not a ten minute walk is the ruin of the Partisan Monument , with overgrown weeds and broken glass creating a forbidden space.  And all around the old city are smaller similarly forgotten parks, with unused water features, broken concrete weeds instead of plants.  Even at the university, the small park in front of the Philosophy faculty is a lost space, with cut grass, yes, but also broken benches, chipped and broken concrete. On the edge is a forgotten athletic space, with a concrete track and four basketball hoops, surrounded by the odd green patch of weeds and sadly, litter. ( It is actually fairly often used space.) 

I suppose that many people would say that there are more important things to fix here than the parks, but I can imagine how Mostar would look with these small parks transformed into spaces for people.  I can imagine a place where the park provides restful spots for the eyes, and the soul. A place to sit in fresh air as an alternative to the cafe. It might be a small but important step toward healing a damaged cityscape.  

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