Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Names and Relationships

You may already have seen this, but I was struck over the weekend by this post about Open Space by Ian Kennedy.

The Battle for Donoughe Hill and the future of Columbia’s Open Space

Kennedy paints a picture of Columbia's Open Space as more than anonymous locations on a map, but places that are known and loved. Places whose characteristics and "personality" have given rise to relationships and even name-giving, as Kennedy does in the anecdote for "Donoughe Hill." What makes Open Space special and worth defending is how we engage with it: walking, biking, playing, exploring, having neighborhood get-togethers, taking photographs, using our imaginations to engage in new ways.

I loved this:

Imagine a future where you look at a map of Columbia and you see the familiar pathways, pools, schools, neighborhood centers, and lakes, but on top of that you see things like sledding hills, fields for free play, streams with names, spots of interesting scenery or ecological features –like the awesome stand of old beech trees in Long Reach or a boulder-strewn stream in Swansfield that feels like it belongs in the mountains of western Maryland or an isolated rock outcrop overlooking the Middle Patuxent River.

Some years ago I wrote about Tot Lots and how they seemed to exist in secrecy, making them virtually impossible to find for new residents. While the Columbia Association has done wonderful things with signage around town, I have yet to see one sign which announces, "To the Tot Lots". Sigh. 

In "Come To My Party" (2013) I wrote:

Maybe tot lots, pathways, and open spaces need their own fan clubs in each village. We hold concerts and festivals in our Village Centers. We have annual pool parties, often rotating each year from one village pool to the next. If our outdoor spaces had annual events, or ongoing programs, it would be one more way to invite and engage residents to enjoy this wonderful amenity.

It looks like Ian Kennedy is a SuperFan for Open Space. Take the time to read his piece in its entirety. Does it bring to mind particular places near your home? Have you ever thought of giving them a name? 

Maybe you should,

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