The first part of this interview talk about the history of Fredrick Law Olmsted, urban parks in America, and the need for islands of greenery and tranquility in the midst of urban life.
I found the most applicable part of the interview starting 13 minutes into the session. Here is a quick synopsis:
There are many different kinds of parks. A common problem is the lack of vocabulary to describe these types. Words like "green space" and "open space" are too vague and we should better understand the lexicon of urban design. What do we want and what is its formal name? Figure it out so we can ask for it by name.
If you ask for an abstraction, you will get an abstraction. If you ask for "open space" you'll get a berm between the WalMart and Kmart. It won't be a place with any civic use or meaning, it will just be a decorative "buffer" between one use and another. So if you want a park or something like a park, be more specific with requests like:
- a ball field
- a band shell surrounded by a garden
- a rose garden
- a duck pond
- a formal square
- a children's playground
- an Italian water garden
These requests are much more meaningful than asking for "green space" and "open space".