in Places

Open Spaces

Ten percent of Planetizen’s Top 100 Public Spaces in the United States were in New York City. It was based on a crowdsourcing survey initiated by regular contributor Chris Whitis. The “interested participants” factor suggests another important point for investigation.

Resource Planning Act Assessment


The acronym “SLAP” describes “space left after planning.” The use of the urban public place demands a new aesthetic. Thus, one makes the meaning of an urban place something more than a preserved hunk of “green” or platform for architecture.

The public space is also a place of last resort, where people can press unrelentingly on the button of unresolved social or economic issues. Of course, we can all name hundreds of places with equal quality or grander views as those listed below, but in an urban design thought experiment — how would the following “top ten” type places work if they were “occupied” by aggressive but thoughtful social change agents?”

  1. Bryant Park 
  2. High Line Park 
  3. Brooklyn Bridge Park 
  4. Central Park
  5. Paley Park
  6. Grand Central Terminal 
  7. Teardrop Park
  8. Madison Square Park 
  9. Fort Tryon Park
  10. Mosholu Parkway

Urbanization is only problematic if it cannot be stopped.  

Cities build strength in response to restraints. In this context, you can get ten cool open spaces. Once the technology represented by “the city” is restrained to “a geography,” it might be possible to achieve a purpose greater than that of the wilderness. A place that humans can only return to damage.

The Resource Planning Act Assessment issued every decade by the U.S. Forest Service finds the primary cause for the loss of natural forests and rangelands is residential and commercial sprawl, along with other land-use changes. Additional threat factors include climate change, wildfires, insect infestations, bacteria, and fungi. These trends in the nation’s renewable resources project to 2060. Current land-use policies supporting the population and economy threaten the resource base connected to rural areas and the natural habitat disruption.

Protecting the Underground

The Resource Planning Act Assessment is completed every ten years by law in the Forest, and Rangeland Renewable Resources Planning Act, a 1974 law (Pub. L. 93-378). The latest RPA Assessment draft is available for public comment through Sept. 30. Draft and final reports can be accessed (here). Public comments on the draft 2010 RPA Assessment were filed at: The 2020 RPA Assessment is here.

Mentioning the use of parks for “occupied” by aggressive social change agents may have engendered a picture of college students, the disenfranchised, underrepresented, and politically oppressed. What should have entered your thoughts on the subject of protest and change should have been one word — “fungi.” Skeptical? Have a look at SPUN.

Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN

Here is some of what the scientists from around the world are saying about ways to save the life on earth that all benefit from but may have never known or understood. Now is the time.

Mycorrhizal fungi are a group of network-forming soil fungi that form symbiotic associations with plants. Nearly all plants form symbiotic associations with mycorrhizal fungi. These associations have shaped life on earth for more than 475 million years.

Fungal networks are one of the biggest untapped levers in climate science. Billions of tons of carbon dioxide flow annually from plants to fungal networks. This carbon flow helps make soils the second largest global carbon sink, after oceans.

Habitat loss is the largest driver of biodiversity loss worldwide. Without their plant partners, fungal networks cannot survive. Logging, agriculture, and urbanization cause drastic disruption to the structure and physical integrity of underground fungal networks. This impairs their ability to sequester carbon, move nutrients, and promote soil aggregation.

Nearly all crops depend on mycorrhizal networks. Yet industrial agriculture employs aggressive tillage, and vast quantities of chemical fertilizers, fungicides and pesticides which devastate fungal networks. Without their fungal partners, crops require more chemical inputs and are more vulnerable to drought, soil erosion, pests, and pathogens.

Extreme temperatures, drought, and floods threaten the ability of global fungal networks to move nutrients and store carbon. Disruptions arising from climate breakdown, like intense wildfires, destroy plants and the fungal networks underground.

The Scientist of SPUN

Evaluation of measures to protect these places from being overwhelmed is requested. Thanks!

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