How public spaces make cities work

Which park is your favourite place to hang out? In Vienna, we have dozens of parks to choose from and each with its own unique character.


Parks in the City

There is one in the 18th district Wahringer Park which is surrounded by trees providing a sense of tranquillity, the park has benches which the people often move around to face the sun or drag under a tree seeking refuge in the shade. Another in the 9th district Sigmund Freud Park in summertime offers park visitors the chance to lounge around on deck chairs, a possibility to relax in the heart of the citys main bustling thoroughfare.

The park just in front of the Hofburg has benches which are immovable and are designed in such a way that slouching is almost impossible. It is like the park designers were reminding us, we are in the presence of Kings, or at the very least their statues. Each park in Vienna has it’s distinct offering and it probably did not just happen by accident as you will find out in Amanda Burden‘s TEDTalk “How public spaces make cities work”.

Relaxation and Contemplation  

The next time you visit your favourite park take a look around at the features it has; the concentration of trees and diversity of the landscape. What do the benches say about how you should act in the park – moveable, are you able to slouch? How about water features or the view that is on offer. Each park should offer its guests a sense of relaxation, a place for quiet contemplation. Does your favourite park or city space do so?

Battling for battle for public spaces

Amanda Burden takes us on a wonderful journey sharing her story of her first appreciation of public spaces from childhood to her role as New York City Planning Commissioner. It is impossible while viewing this TEDTalk not to in fact feel her sense of pride as she tells of her passion. She has fought many battles and succeed in bringing public space to the forefront of the New York City planning agenda.

Amanda Burden informs us that commercial interests will always battle public spaces. We have the battles in Turkey to save a park from becoming a shopping mall and in the UK parks may soon be privitized and made for profit under council planning. However, in New York and under Amanda Burden corporate interests have not won over public welfare.

This successful former planning commissioner tells us that she believes parks are part of why people choose a city to visit and a reason to stay in that city.

Click play and allow her story inspire you. Please inspire us by telling us which park is your favourite and where it is!

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