The perfect public space should be a hot topic of conversation these days. As our cities become denser and our private space continues to shrink, we increasingly rely on places such as parks to enjoy our leisure time. But city parks should be places of commerce too and a good vendor, whether selling frosty beer or a range of newspapers, creates vibrancy and an essential public service.
So a recent ruling in New York capping the number of newspaper, book and art vendors within its leafy public parks has had members of the city’s creative community up in arms. Finding retail space in an urban centre can be costly for entrepreneurs; parks can provide a good first patch for what could become a fledgling company.
We’re not advocating for parks to be packed with hawkers (particularly the chintzy kind). But planners might be wise to focus on quality, rather than just quantity, when it comes to public-park retail.