|McKenzie Hall (pictured), Yaquina, Santiam, and Eola Halls|
are low-priority for preservation at the State Hospital
I hope that's not code for a pretty, low-density campus, thereby keeping out meaningful density and activity across the whole project. I hope it means park + streetcar-scaled development, not park + single-family residences and a small strip mall.
Salem loves Ornamental Emptiness
To swerve a moment, in a nutshell, that code is an important part of what I don't understand about the attachment to the low-density campus that is our Civic Center:
|Empty! No people. We should probably want less|
of this, not more of it.
And is it really that beautiful? (SCV post)
But there's rarely meaningful numbers of people in the space. I think there is an objective case that the inactivity makes these failed public spaces. They are ornamental emptinesses, and people seem to want more of this. Salemites, in fact, seem to love ornamental and ornamented emptiness!
|At 5pm on a sunny-but-cold weekday, the north plaza is totally dead.|
While you don't expect people to be sitting in the cold,
you'd expect people walking in the plaza.
More fundamentally, the problem is on-site and adjacent land-use. The problem is buildings and transportation. The problem is a whole pattern of things and people, patterns in space and in time, not just the deployment of benches and flowers. It's not lipstick and furniture.
|Before I Die Wall at Riverfront Park, January 2013|
Image: Before I Die Salem
|The Scupture "Garden": Mostly Empty Concrete on the Parkway|
In many ways the lipstick and furniture approach echoes our approach to downtown: Better sidewalk sweeping and more planters!
So much of our public space is just ornamental emptiness, though.
Good Places need More than Ornament
|Most of our Ornamental Emptinesses meet few of these criteria.|
Place Making diagram from Project for Public Spaces
|The Capitol Mall Fountain in summer|
|Shouldn't we want Mirror Pond to be more like this?|
Whether with wading or without - lots of people!
Portland's Jamison Square
|Mirror Pond from Liberty, 5pm on a weekday - and |
Does the Civic Center nutria have a name? pic.twitter.com/W7ked53RqsThe State Hospital Redevelopment must Avoid Ornamental Emptiness!
— Darlene Strozut (@Enstone) January 17, 2014
Back to our real topic, the State Hospital Redevelopment project...
|Streetcar-scaled and walkable retail|
doesn't have to mean convenience stores
|Half of Belluschi's Breitenbush Hall - A shallow strip, super wide.|
A psychiatric prison, its windows are locked, and need to be replaced.
|Dome Building in December, 1913|
Note that it has the south wing only
Looking Forward, the NEN-SESNA plan, meets Tuesday, January 14th at 6:30pm in Court Street Christian Church (1699 Court St NE).
(For all posts on the North Campus of the State Hospital See here. For more on Belluschi see here.)