Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Shared Spaces to Connect Spaces

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One challenge faced by landscape architects is how to connect green spaces within a city. This issue can be especially difficult in dense urban areas such as city centers, or for example, the area near the University of Washington in University District, Seattle. The greenway that connects Green Lake Park with Ravenna Park along NE Ravenna Boulevard is one such space that achieves this goal. Fredrick Law Olmsted designed the greenway in 1903 as part of the grand plan of Seattle's city parks. The thirty-plus foot green lawn that divides the roadway provides an aesthetically appealing connection for the two parks and has evolved over time to be an important space within the neighborhood.
Observations of the greenway on a chilly January day reveal that this is indeed a shared space even in the middle of winter. Drivers on the roadway, bikers, walkers, runners, area residents and business-owners all use it for different purposes. As such, the greenway is certainly an example of city sharing in Seattle. Business owners use the open space to place advertisements in plain sight of passers by. Runners have worn a path in the grass along the tree line from many years of use. The thirty-plus feet of green lawn is wide enough to play with dogs or pass a Frisbee between friends; and bikers, drivers and walkers all use the roadway as well. This greenway along with other shared spaces throughout the city help to create a flow of users from park to park; and therefore increase the functionality of the green spaces within the city as a whole.

By: Darcy Akers and Kenna Patrick

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