Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Walk in the Park

I may be jumping the gun a bit, since I haven't seen much talk about it, but next Saturday afternoon from 10-ish AM until 6-ish PM Main Street Garden will be host to "A Day in the Park," sponsored by all of the AIA, ASLA, CNU's of the world.

According to the AIA flyer activities will include: kid activities, music, walking tours, and sports. It is billed as a meet and greet between design professionals, but I'm guessing that with nice weather it will turn into something bigger as music and open space combine to form a magnetic draw.

I've kvetched about the park before, but I've now heard from people at all levels of the City who are glad to have the park, but have been frustrated by a number of its details, complications and inadequacies. Recall that I said (and not meant as a backhanded compliment) that the best thing was actually the most difficult and heroic, its conversion into a park in the first place. Guess I'm right. /pats self on back. /feels better about self.

Also if you recall, I began putting together a new kind of analysis that takes the idea of intersection density as indicator of walkability and combines it with my concept of convergence as a measure of potential land value. The thinking is derived from the idea that land value, like internet value is determined by traffic flow, but the 20th century transportation and development model has undermined that and created "anti-" or "inside-out" city.

The result is the most potential "energy," to use physics parlance, is typically held within the most under-utilized or underdeveloped land, a direct result of a horrid and inhumane transportation system and design.

In the downtown Fort Worth analysis, I added a new layer of detail to the below diagram by creating a hierarchy between streets that go somewhere, ie connect to adjacent districts and those that don't. I haven't yet had the time to add that to this one, but at first glance it will only amplify the effect seen in the below graphic. That the most potential is along Ross, Griffin, Harwood, Canton/Young, and Main.



Below I added a brief explanation for the correlation between tiny red dots, ie little potential/value/convergence/walkability and the lack of vitality occurring there.



As we all know, Main Street has been a smashing success for Dallas. It is the one vital and truly urban area of the downtown core.



We already have one new park in Main Street Gardens and another under construction bookending Main Street.



Almost by coincidence the parks line up perfectly with the areas of greatest potential.



Nothing new to really add here, but a friendly reminder to myself to further advance this work.