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” is used to describe “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 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 structure of the nation’s renewable resources project to 2060. Current land-use policies supporting the population and economy are threats that shrink the resource base connected to rural areas.

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.

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

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