Taking the Waters

I’ve long been interested in urban territoriality—everything from how people stake out and defend territory at a movie in the park to the subtlte gradiations between public and private space delineated on the sidewalks of any city. I love how people can transform an essentially neutral space with a single flower pot on a step or a blanket on the grass. Especially in the city where there’s never enough space, temporarily, softly claiming a bit of the public domain can be transformative–and not just for the claimant as long as it’s done with good will and doesn’t impede the flow of public interactions.

I also love all the pieces of public urban spacem—manhole covers, benches, bike racks. And hydrants. They’re like capped up geysers, waiting only for the firemen’s wrench to explode in a gush of water. The firemen’s wrench, or the illicit tapper with the right equipment. Sudenly what was an oppressively hot, dry stretch of concrete is a raging torrent of water. Magic!

The problem is that it’s not magic, it’s a HUGE amount of potable water. One hydrant open for one hour uses 60,000 gallons of water–the equivalent of flushing every toilet in Giants Stadium ten times. Spray caps limit the flow to a more reasonable amount, but in a study published recently by Urban Omnibus, landscape architect Adrienne Cortez suggests a deeper transformation with mini parks anchored by hydrants. Cool.



This entry was posted on Sunday, August 2nd, 2009 and is filed under landscape. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
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