My interest in baseball ranges from indifferent to mildly curious. But the intersection of professional sports stadiums and urban planning? That’s something I can can sink my teeth into.
You don’t need to be an urban planner or even have a passing interest in urbanism to understand the differences between the neighborhood around Wrigley Field and the neighborhood around Guaranteed Rate Field (or Comiskey Park or U.S. Cellular Field or whatever you choose to call the place where the White Sox play). One is vibrant, full of shops, homes, and people walking around; the other is a full of a lot of parking lots for cars that sit in place of buildings razed long ago.
I’m going to make this a short post today and let this recent CBS Sports article speak for itself:
It’s an excellent piece about urbanism disguised as a story about a baseball stadium. The author clearly understands the value of neighborhood and community, and where professional sports fit in (right in the middle, as you will read).
Two key quotes (emphasis mine):
“I realized that baseball fans were a kind of community. And the thought occurred to me that you can make this argument about buildings as a form of community and make that point by using baseball parks and advance the larger idea.”
“We weren’t advocating to save the ballpark [Old Comiskey]. We were advocating to save the neighborhood. A reason for gravitating toward Philip’s design is that he clearly got baseball. But most of all he clearly had a scale and a footprint that the residents liked.”