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Beyond Pragmatism: Challenging the Generic Design of Public Parks in the Contemporary City

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This paper explores the role of public parks in contemporary cities. It argues that the economy of cities, consumption culture and regeneration processes have contributed to the development of particular design principles of public spaces that place the user at the bottom of the food chain. The contribution of branding, marketing and regeneration processes to landscape design culture is not to offer a refuge from the modern city but rather it enhances the visual buzz. Exploring this approach to contemporary open spaces in the city, and defining some of its underlying design principles, the paper calls for a counter approach – the round public place – that might be able to offer more complex, dynamic public spaces in cities. Challenging the contemporary approach to landscape design is viewed as essential. In an age of control and consumption, public parks are still places of freedom and choice, and are spaces that we should be fighting for their design and being.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2018

More about this publication?
  • Built Environment is published quarterly in March, June, September and December. With an emphasis on crossing disciplinary boundaries and providing global perspective, each issue focuses on a single subject of contemporary interest to practitioners, academics and students working in a wide range of disciplines. Issues are guest-edited by established international experts who not only commission contributions, but also oversee the peer-reviewing process in collaboration with the Editors.

    Subject areas include: architecture; conservation; economic development; environmental planning; health; housing; regeneration; social issues; spatial planning; sustainability; urban design; and transport. All issues include reviews of recent publications.

    The journal is abstracted in Geo Abstracts, Sage Urban Studies Abstracts, and Journal of Planning Literature, and is indexed in the Avery Index to Architectural Publications.

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