Although it remains murky whether or not we will finally, forever be rid of the viaduct, it’s never too early to start arguing about what should replace it.
One thing I’m sure we’ll see is a push to turn a large part of it into open space. After all, open space is accessible to anyone, while housing and offices are enjoyed by a relative few. GreaterGreaterWashington, which is basically the Washington, DC equivalent of STB and hugeasscity combined, came out against extensive open space in a very large redevelopment going on in Anacostia. He even trots out the Jane Jacobs:
In orthodox [modernist] city planning, neighborhood open spaces are venerated in an amazingly uncritical fashion, much as savages venerate magical fetishes [sic]. Ask a houser how his planned neighborhood improves on the old city and he will cite, as a self-evident virtue, More Open Space. Ask a zoner about the improvements in progressive codes and he will cite, again as a self-evident virtue, their incentives toward leaving More Open Space. Walk with a planner through a dispirited neighborhood and though it be already scabby with deserted parks and tired landscaping festooned with an old Kleenex, he will envision a future of More Open Space.
More Open Space for what? For muggings? For bleak vacuums between buildings? Or for ordinary people to use and enjoy? But people do not use city open space just because it is there and because city planners wish they would.
There certainly is a place for mega-parks like New York’s Central Park and our very own Arboretum. But the creation of urban “green space” should always be measured against the fact that it will displace people, ultimately causing the destruction of genuine natural habitat.