Pomelos to Peaches: Making Park Edges More Palatable to Pedestrians
We all know that poorly designed buildings with blank walls and big parking lots out front can have a chilling effect on street life. But we rarely discuss how poorly designed park edges can kill street life too. I like to think of such parks as pomelos. Pomelos are a grapefruit-like fruit. To get to the good part inside, you have to peel away two or three inches of white pith that is not at all palatable. In pomelo parks, people are isolated from the parts they savor. The edges fail to engage us; they invite neither activity nor contemplation. A park’s edges should be more like a peach’s than a pomelo’s. The parts of a park people savor should not be hidden away, rather they should be close to the street, so that the park and street can enliven each other. The best park edges invite people in. Walking along them is a joy. Like the skin on a peach, a good park’s skin may protect it and define it, but will not present an obstacle to savoring it.