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The Texas Blue
Advancing Progressive Ideas

Discovering a Lost Sense of Community in New Greenspace

Let’s all try to go to Discovery Green. It’s important.

That may sound a little silly to some; after all, it is just a new downtown park. But it really isn’t just a park; it’s a whole new concept in public space. And it opens at a time when I believe we desperately need to experiment with such a concept.

Located in Houston’s urban core close to the George R. Brown Convention Center, Discovery Green is attempting to provide something for everyone. Among other things, you can go jogging, have a drink, walk your dog, race model boats, use your laptop computer with WiFi access or visit a small branch of the library system.

Some are wondering if folks will really drive their cars or ride the rail to visit downtown green space. I’m hoping they will and not just because $122 million of public and private funding has gone into the project. I think we need this kind of space to change the way in which we interact in this day and age.

In The Power Broker, Robert Caro writes glowingly about Fiorello La Guardia, the former mayor of New York. He says that La Guardia had a “conception of a metropolis whose citizens would pass their daily rounds in surroundings that uplifted the spirit.” He quotes La Guardia as saying, “Too often, life in New York is merely a squalid succession of days; whereas in fact it can be a great living adventure.”

The same can be said of Houston in 2008, and we’re certainly not alone. Many people are beaten down, worn out by being over-connected. With all of the advances in technology, there’s simply no escape anymore. You’d think the ease and availability of communication would bring us closer together but just the opposite seems true. Throw in the bad economy, the war and a few other major worries and pretty soon you’re talking about “a squalid succession of days.”

All of this really hit me the other day when I was in Dallas’s Love Field airport on a Friday afternoon. I remember being there on Fridays back in the ’80s when it was a hopping place. You could look in any direction and see folks having a good time, excited about getting out of town for the weekend. When I looked around the other day, what I mostly saw was misery; a bunch of haggard individuals dragging themselves home. When I shared the observation with a friend, he said, “Yeah, airports are America’s new bus stations.”

Will Discovery Green cure all of this? Of course not. But just as Mayor La Guardia understood that public spaces could lift people up many years ago, Houston Mayor Bill White seems to have a similar, modernized understanding of the same concept. That’s why he spearheaded the effort and is banking on the new park space to revitalize downtown once again.

If students can carve out a little study niche while an elderly couple strolls through the farmers’ market and moms and dads chase after their kids, pretty soon you’re talking about a new sense of community, a new place of interaction, not just a park. We need that.

(Originally published by Examiner Newspaper Group)

Be careful what you wish for, there is a price and its not free.

Green Spaces, how delightful, careful what you wish for. There is a price for parks, trails and green spaces. Mayor Bill White aka Mayor Green Jeans and his band of "Green Elite" have dreams of further green space all around Houston as far as the eye can see. Yet they have no money for the land!

How do you get land without paying for it you may ask? Easy, they steal it.

Fortunately there’s a little thing called the US Constitution to keep the “Green Elite” in check. Taking land for public use without just compensation will not be an option for the "Greenies". Bending and contorting the constitution to their "Green Elite" agenda is a slippery slop. Remember, they may find themselves in a similar position one day and need the same constitution they have denied others.

Interested in a 1.9 billion to 3.5 billion Texas Size Regulatory Taking of 10,000 properties?

Chris, please feel free to research the matter. Read about it here:

Read what Pat O'Connor & Associates has to say

So tell me, how do you "lift people up" while you stomp them in the ground?

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