Big Toe at the Park

Big Toe at the Park

Originally uploaded by heinemanfleck.

Spring seemed to click into place this evening, I’m not sure why. We’ve had warmer weather, and today’s high of 73F (23C) is actually below average for May 9, and not close to the warmest day this year. But the iris are in spectacular bloom, and when Lissa and I took a walk after dinner, people just seemed to be more outside.

Around the block, the neighborhood kids were playing some wild shoot-em-up game, and the front door across the street was open, with the screen door closed, so you could hear the dogs going apeshit as we walked by with Sadie. It’s that open front door thing, I guess, that gave it the feel of spring maybe. I don’t know.

I sent Inkstain staff anthropologist Big Toe over to the park around the corner from Inkstain World Headquarters to gather some data. He counted about 50 people out: walking the park perimeter, playing two volleyball games (the folks in the background of the picture above), playing an 8-person no-goalie soccer game, reading, walking dogs, sitting on the park bench smoking, parents with little ones on the play equipment. We don’t have a lot of data to compare it to. On Aug. 11, 2005, I counted 70 people out. It was 92F (33C) that day, which was warmer than normal.

Big Toe’s the expert here, and he argues that public spaces like this, while contributing to the proximate value of the surrounding real estate, also create what is called in the literature “vital public spaces” where members of various groups can interact in neutral space. Me, I’m no intellectual. I just like a warm spring evening at the park.

One Comment

  1. Mr Toe:

    Sir, did you notice the different socioeconomic groups using the park space in different ways for different purposes?

    Thank you,

    A Fan. (capital F)

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