parks are for people

June 25, 2012

In Béziers, clouds of scent waft off the Tilia argentea group standing  sentinel by the entrance to the park – Plateau des Poètes  – that runs on from the main axis, Allées Paul-Rique, through the smart part of town.  It’s thought that  the landscape designer Frederic Law Olmstead honed the phrase ‘Parks are for People’ but research doesn’t provide concrete proof. Anyway, it’s a good phase and Olmstead’s Central Park  works today just as well as when first designed and constructed years ago. Spending some time in this open green space in ‘edgy’ (as G describes it) Béziers, I was taken with the clear usefulness of the park shown by locals of all ages,  enjoying all aspects.  Aspects or elements that have become known expectations. So, there are garden rooms , which family groups can inhabit, in privacy . . .

. .  and monuments and memorials – both contemporary in style and the more traditional – showing quite different forms of craftsmanship and decoration, or the lack of it . . .

. . .   at the rear of monuments – the hidden side – all ages seem to feel more relaxed and willing to intermingle – the fronts being imposing deter human informality. Spacious lawn areas, if shaded sufficiently,  are confidently inhabited by large ethnic family groups  . . .

. .  football goes on around the plinths and busts of the poets. Plinths make a good goal post . . .

. . information is a necessity and horticultural expertise is expected as shown by the pruned juniper in the Japanese manner . . .  and newly planted bedding around some fairly ugly cactus.

Water is an expected element in a large public park as both good for reflections and to reflect upon  . . .

. . and to amaze in the magnificence of construction and impact.

An informal but also formal rill – good for toy boats perhaps – seems forgotten under the Cedar of Lebanon.

Scuptural forms always figure in public space. Atlas, being manly, and being a Titan, is a necessary component in the Fountaine de Ttitan designed by Injalert . .

. .    simple jostling around tusselling with others is all part of enjoying the freedom within the larger scale open space of an urban park. It’s also the place where others can be watched!  We watch others to learn after all . . .

. . . and what fun to roll down grassy slopes without a care in the world.

‘A broad margin of leisure is as beautiful in a man’s life as in a book. Haste makes waste, no less in life than in housekeeping. Keep the time, observe the hours of the universe, not of the cars’.  Henry David Thoreau

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: