How Many Free Places in the City?


When reading the interview of Catie Marron (By AMY CHOZICK), she mentioned “Libraries are free, and parks are free. When you think about the world and the economic inequality that is getting more extreme here in New York and elsewhere, you need to have great public spaces where people can all participate.”  These words began my thought.

In modern cities, we separate spaces by creating buildings.  Every spaces have their own boundaries.  In these thresholds, we may have gates.  Even some public parks, for example “Dumbarton Oaks in Washington”, it has gates.  We have to pay the fee to get in.  That is a public park, but it’s not free. 

From the parks in New York and Chicago, I found public parks mean too much for the citizen.  People will go to public parks everyday.  Someone running along the park after work, some housewives bring kids to the park to enjoy the sunshine, someone held wedding in the park.  Jane Jacobs wrote that “parks don’t necessarily help a neighborhood. They cost a lot of money to maintain. And there were times when the city went down, and so went the parks; when the city goes up, so go the parks.”  These words also mean the thoughts “parks don’t bring people, business bring people.” 

Library, another free place in the city and bring citizen knowledge.  People use PC, IPAD, KINDLE to read all the time, how many people read physical books?  But library is not only about new books, it has history and tons of resources.  “It’s a place of congregation. Librarians are there to help you find the information you need, to tell you about things you didn’t know about. They’re a place of refuge. And people still check out books.” (By Catie Marron)

Catie Marron: Blame Pastis, Not the High Line, By AMY CHOZICK October 30, 2013, The New York Times

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