Tuesday, October 1, 2013

New park fails to impress U.S. architect

This little park would benefit from some better planning, a little imagination.
Over the weekend, I took a visiting American architect for a tour of a new development in the southwest London. He had some interesting insights -- insights that should be of interest to those taking part in the ReThink London process.

For one thing, he was not impressed with the large park in the new Talbot Village development. Yes, it did attract kids. Yes, it did provide a place to play. But it could have been so much more. As it is, it is simply an open chunk of land trapped inside a circle of roads. It does feature some playground equipment -- a plus -- but it could have been so much more.

This small park in Montreal is a beauty.
When I was in Montreal recently, I walked to a park near to where I was staying. It was beautiful. Well treed and featuring a large pond fed by a small, rock-edged, meandering stream. A paved path through the park made good use of the little stream.

The park in Montreal was a neighbourhood focal point. The surrounding homes all faced the park unlike this new park in London. The London park seems ignored. Almost forgotten by those living nearby.

Think of the squares of Savannah, Georgia, or The Green in Dover, Delaware. For inspiration, Londoners actually need look no farther than the city's own Victoria Park in the city core. I am not suggesting that a small suburban park needs to be as grand as the large park in the core. I am only suggesting a small neighbourhood park can easily be more than what has been delivered in southwest London.

Both the Montreal park and the homes nearby benefit from their interaction.

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