I've been keeping a somewhat suspicious eye on the new Open Society Institute blog that is supposed to share big ideas about how to fix the city. This week's posting by Steve Ziger is interesting: make a big park through and around Baltimore. It seems like a great idea, but also raises a bunch of questions. Mine, in no particular order, are these: how do you police that space? Much of the green space in Baltimore has been used for illicit activity at least as much as it has for the kinds of recreation that Ziger mentions. Also, where does the land for this green space come from? And who is it for? Who manages it? Are parks for the middle class going to destroy urban neighborhoods in the 2000's the way interstate highways and urban renewal have in decades past? Are they another public/private partnership that winds up being a big giveaway to some management company?
Also, I wonder what happens to heritage resources (historic buildings, archaeology sites, and so forth). Baltimore hasn't been doing so well with managing them these days, and I wonder how a large parks system would deal with the roundhouse on Falls Road, or an industrial heritage site.
Anyway, I don't wanna diss too hard, because I do like the idea, but I do hope that folks think it through a bit.