Spaces Between Places
Thanks to digital mapping, urban dwellers can begin to appreciate the size and scale of unused pavement space — the gutters, alleys, and abandoned city lots that people hardly ever notice. These “spaces between places,” as the late artist Gordon Matta-Clark described them in the 1970s, add up to twice the size of Central Park, according to a digital mapping project known as Local Code.
The data-visualization tool was developed last year to help size up unused pavement space in major urban areas, writes Allison Arieff in the New York Times blog, Opinionator. It’s is the brainchild of architect Nicholas de Monchaux, an assistant professor of architecture and urban design at the University of California, Berkeley.
De Monchaux contends that if “optimized,” or re-greened, these remnant spaces could help alleviate many environmental ills, from air pollution to storm-water sewage overflows.
“Using digital tools, we turn the scattered resources of unused public land into a common ecological infrastructure,” says de Monchaux in this video.
Imagine adding two Central Parks’ worth of urban farms and community gardens to New York City? Heck, I’d even settle for half that space, given that many spots will not be conducive to growing food.