Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Dogs and the city

Well, sure, in many quarters in DC, "dog parks" is a phrase meant as code for both "white people moving in" and neighborhood change or "gentrification."

Dog at Adams-Morgan DayAs I have written before ("A breakdown in a functioning civil society" from 2009 and "Love 'em and leash 'em" from 2005), dogs and dog walking are important elements of "social bridges*" and adding positive activity to the street.  The creation of dog parks also brings more people out to parks and potentially helps to develop community and advocates supporting public space improvements.

Dogs as an element of the city has not gone unnoticed by retailers and commercial district planners--I remember at a Main Street conference a few years ago one of the presenters made the point that commercial districts, to remain vital, need pet stores, and you see this in many neighborhoods now in DC, and Petco's city-sized version of smaller stores designed for spaces not capable of supporting or fitting a big box store of 20,000 s.f. or larger.

Accommodating pets and dogs specifically is something that apartment building operators are doing too.

People on the street at 555 Massachusetts Ave. NWYesterday's Wall Street Journal has an article on this, "Dogs Get Their Due," and I have noticed it happening already at one of the buildings in NoMA, which is providing a dog washing room with a door to the outside, a plastic poop bag dispenser, and is designating apartments in one particular area of the building for dog owners specifically, in part probably to contain barking and make it easy for dogs+owners to get in and out of the building.  

* William Whyte called triangulation the process by where "some external stimulus provides a linkage between people and prompts strangers to talk to other strangers as if they knew each other." (p. 154, The City).

From "Design Guidelines for Greenways," from the concluding chapter of Dr. Anne Lusk's dissertation titled "Guidelines for Greenways: Determining the Distance to, Features of, and Human Needs Met by Destinations on Multi-Use Corridors." University of Michigan.):

Except for a minimal number of elements, the environment does not facilitate interaction between strangers. While someone could hold open a door and a person passing through could say thank you, necessary ADA regulations are making many doors automatic. If social capital is to be increased and interaction between people who know one another and people who do not know one another improved, environments that might foster positive interaction should be built. At the destinations, social bridge elements could be incorporated in the built environment. These social bridge elements include four types: 1) Assist, 2) Connect, 3) Observe, and 4) In Absentia.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home