This seems like a perfectly nice looking park on 95th Street. So why does no one ever use it?
Perhaps it has to do with the surroundings. Nothing around here is generating any significant amount of pedestrian activity that will lead to people lingering in this park.
The same goes for this one on Western Avenue.
The legendary Jane Jacobs, whose views on cities in the 1960s and beyond laid the foundation for today’s “New Urbanism,” had this to say about parks and green space in her book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”:
“In orthodox city planning, neighborhood open spaces are venerated in an amazingly uncritical fashion. Ask a houser how his planned neighborhood improves on the old city and he will cite, as a self-evident virtue, More Open Space. Ask a zoner about the improvements in progressive codes and he will cite, again as a self-evident virtue, their incentives toward leaving More Open Space. Walk with a planner through a dispirited neighborhood and though it be already scabby with deserted parks and tired landscaping festooned with old Kleenex, he will envision a future of More Open Space.
“More Open Space for what? For muggings? For bleak vacuums between buildings? Or for ordinary people to use and enjoy? But people do not use cit open space just because it is there and just because city planners or designers wish they would.”
She could be talking about these two parks in Beverly (well, maybe the mugging part doesn’t apply). Before we start adding gathering space, we should think about how it will actually function in the current environment. If you have a lack of pedestrian activity in a place, your park will be perpetually vacant. A park alone does not make a place. Get the place right first, then think about enhancing it with a well placed park.