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.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Contested spaces: athletic fields | Gentrification or a planning failure -- revisiting an ongoing issue

In keeping with the theme of the failure to create structural solutions when such are needed...

The Washington Post has an article, "Field wars: Organized league clashes with pickup players in a gentrifying neighborhood," about what we might call "contested space" in the Columbia Heights neighborhood, where a league got permits to use a soccer field, crowding out "unorganized" or "pick up" use of the space.

The Post raises this as an issue of gentrification. It may be, but it's also a matter of parks planning. This came up in nearby Petworth five years ago, and the Post wrote about it then, and I responded, recommending that parks planners step in, and block out some of the schedule for "pick up" use.

"Planning for unplanning: parks and recreation," 11/13/2012

Finding_The_Game by Gwendolyn Oxenham, book coverThe Post has an article, "Rec leagues vs. Pick-up games: two sides of the playing field," about the use of recreation facilities in the city, and how organized leagues with permits for the use of fields trump the use of fields for "unorganized" pick up athletic activity.  The example is soccer.

I understand how government agencies want to minimize their work and conceive of most activities as a regulatory or rationing-type function.  If you have facilities ("Assets") you manage them, and ration their use through permits and fees.

On the other hand, a parks and recreation agency could conceive of its mission as enabling the recreation and parks needs of interests of all demographics, systematically, and stepping in to assist various constituencies/demographics when they way that they are accustomed to using facilities doesn't fit with the standard paradigm.

In basketball, it is not uncommon for court time to be scheduled for "pick up" basketball.  And in swimming, "open swim" time.

In soccer, in DC, at Petworth, and likely other places, DPR should schedule field use for "pick up" soccer as well, in view of mission goals of serving diverse segments of the population, including those who don't play in leagues.

And in some other jurisdictions, there is more accommodation for this.  In Arlington County although they charge, and in NYC, a group PSNYC / Pickup Soccer NYC has organized the unorganized, at least the English speakng ones...  And this piece from the New York Times, "Pelada: Pickup, the Essence of a Game," references a book, Finding the Game: Three Years, Twenty-five Countries, and the Search for Pickup Soccer on pickup soccer around the world.

Note that this is an issue across recreation and parks planning.  The most organized parks constituencies tend to be people affiliated with team sports and leagues.  Without taking extra steps to ensure that other constituencies are represented, it's very easy for recreation planning to end up focused primarily on team sports.

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At 5:12 PM, Anonymous Charlie said...

Isn't the issue is that the field is owned by a school -- which has different policies than DPR?

At 1:45 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Might be/good point. But now, these days, I think all this stuff is run by DGS. (A mistake, but that's the way it is.) It becomes an administrative function, not a function of recreation.

At 3:29 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

Have not been following it closely.

See this on "portfolio" theory for cities.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Thanks. Very interesting.

I have to get a copy of the book mentioned:

In reading plans from the UK, it does seem as if the cities have a more "asset management" focus, of course, things there are totally f*ed because of austerity and how it has destroyed local government budgets.

It occurred to me a few hours ago that the proposed Trump budget for 2018 is designed to do the same thing, f* the states/localities the way that "austerity" has done in the UK, with how "we all have to take some of the hurt" local governments got totally and unequivocally f*ed.

Liverpool's budget is half what it was. Plus there, local governments are responsible for aging care ("social care"). Under Cameron budgets were cut massively. He said "sell your property" (speaking of portfolio). And they offered an increase in local taxes, but it was nowhere near a rate that would equal what they had revenue-wise before.

I have to figure out how to write that up.

All these articles about Trump and the Republicans kind of miss the point. I don't understand all the ins and outs, because the Rs aren't neoliberals per se, they've always wanted to contain the state, and believe in markets.

But these people are Grover Norquist acolytes. They want to reduce/shrink the state, vs. contain it. In ways that like Brexit, will have serious negative economic impacts.

At 9:33 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

There was another article, don't know if you caught it, in the Weekend front section, about the Aramco IPO, saying that what really matters is the state of the US fracking market, how cheap capital in the US continues to enable that segment of the industry, and it keeps prices low, but that it isn't economic if the cost of capital is reasonable.

I don't know how deliberate it is to keep oil prices down to hurt Russia and Venezuela, but obviously it does.

Earlier in the week the Post reported on how the DOI has cut royalty payment pricing for oil extraction and put more area out for bid.

At 9:35 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

oh back to the previous comment... Simon Wren-Lewis is calling the recent election result in the UK the result of neoliberal overreach.

I think there is Republican overreach in all the deregulation initiatives generally, wrt the environment and financial industries specifically, the health care law shenanigans--focused really on enabling tax cuts for the wealthy, etc.

But I don't know if it's accurate to call it neoliberal overreach.

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

RE: Neoliberalism, austerity

outside of Detroit and PR, I can't think of many example of local government "austerity" in the US. If anything it is a debt fueled party.

We certainly have had federal government austerity since sequestration.

In terms of portfolio theory, I was reading about chinese local government and that the central government keeps a group lease on EVERYTHING which means transaction taxes are the only way to raise local money.

The biggest offender in DC seems to be DCPS in term of not thinking "portfolio". Feds have gotten better.

At 8:07 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

I think that some of the chinese "local" governments "own" portions of local firms.


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