Friday, December 16, 2011
In grad school I was taught to design landscapes according to emotion. "How do you want the occupier to feel when they are in the space?" A Maya Lin memorial would command appropriate, grave pause and exposed retrospection as opposed to Central Park with pockets to provide a buffet for mixed emotions.
No matter the tone, I think an expected baseline of happiness should fuel the pursuit of positive open space. As any Landscape Architect would suggest, there are many technical and expensive avenues to achieve this but, I believe that there's a freebie out there.
I take great delight in experimenting with my theory. I run every morning on the well travelled roads of my Town. I'll see ladies pass in cars applying makeup, folks hiding behind steering wheels buttressed by flasks of coffee, bus drivers navigating their routes like cats chasing their tails and shop keepers prepping their windows for market. With many that I pass, I smile or wave. I reserve a peace out* to those whom allow me to cross intersections against the light. Each gesture is met with great return. Faces light up, mascara wands salute, horns honk, headlights flash, police sirens even give a quick beep. Immediately, the air and our surrounding landscape seems warmer, happier.
Not every landscape needs to be designed by a starchitect and his toolbox of expensive products to make it successfully defined. The power of the smile is the blueprint for positively transforming any canvas but, you just have to exercise it.
*I should note, not the dreaded Celine Dion chest punch but the good ole two fingered "V" synonymous with good will and ambassadorship not Canadian weirdness