Spa, Rue Royale

This is an enclosed space that does not really work. While the enclosure is complete, it is too large and too diffuse. On the right, in the middle distance, an effort was made to integrate a small park into the urban fabric. The result is neither wholly urban nor really a very good park, as it is surrounded on all sides by streets (I know this from other views of the scene).

Small "pocket parks" can be integrated into side streets, where they are restful and provide an oasis for nearby residents. Larger parks really ought to be on the fringe of the city, not in the middle.

Consider the case of Manhattan's huge Central Park, which occupies about 150 city blocks. It is without doubt a very fine park, and it certainly makes for beautiful views for those lucky enough to have a window overlooking the park, but it otherwise does not meet the needs of New Yorkers all that well.

The area of Central Park could have been broken up into, say, 10 parks of 10 blocks and 100 parks of half a block each. The banks of the two rivers could have had five large parks each, where the peaceful location along the river would offer a real haven from the city's noise and bustle, as well as beautiful views out over the river. The 100 small parks (which would be about half the size of the much-loved Bryant Park), could have been scattered throughout the city. They would have been located in the middle of a block, with buildings at both ends to block out the traffic noise from the busy avenues. Such a scheme would have provided local parks within easy reach of all city residents while providing larger parks within a 30 minute walk of all parts of the island. I believe that this would have been a much better, and much fairer, application of this resource. As it is, the principal beneficiaries of the park are those who live near it; the rest of the island has very little open space to offer its residents. At the time, though, the concentration was on monumental parks, and Central Park certainly is a wonderful example.

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