Our need for access to the natural world is paramount. To have greenspaces to frequent, trees to climb, fields to throw a frisbee in… The urban landscape would be pretty bleak if not for the brief (or sometimes vast) moments of respite provided by our urban parks. In this installment of the GOOD Cities Project—our look at how we make our cities and our cities make us—we examine the ever-vital urban park and how it’s evolved over time.
The moment we stepped into Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia, we heard the music. We followed it to the corner of the park and saw a band playing for a local swing/lindy hop group offering free dance lessons. Here's what was interesting: while all of the benches around the band were full of people, there was about a ten-foot gap between the sitters and the dancers. The gap was just enough to discourage people from joining in the fun, and the dance group was more of a spectacle than an interactive experience.