mardi 17 juillet 2012

Our Newly Lush Life


WHENEVER you doubt that the future can improve upon the past or that government can play a pivotal role in that, consider and revel in the extraordinary greening of New York.

The New York Times

This city looks nothing — nothing — like it did just a decade and a half ago. It’s a place of newly gorgeous waterfront promenades, of trees, tall grasses and blooming flowers on patches of land and peninsulas of concrete and even stretches of rail tracks that were blighted or blank before. It’s a lush retort to the pessimism of this era, verdant proof that growth remains possible, at least with the requisite will and the right strategies.

The transformation of New York has happened incrementally enough that it often escapes full, proper appreciation. But it’s a remarkable, hopeful stride.

It’s also emblematic of a coast-to-coast pattern of intensified dedication to urban parkland. While so much of American life right now is attended by the specter of decline, many cities are blossoming, with New York providing crucial inspiration.

“It represents a great example because it’s our largest urban area in America,” said Ken Salazar, the United States secretary of the interior, on the phone Friday, suggesting that if the Big Apple can carve out green amid its gray, any city can. Salazar plans to visit New York on Tuesday to address an international conference, already under way, called “Greater & Greener: Re-Imagining Parks for 21st Century Cities.”

While Mayor Bloomberg has suffered frustrations and failures aplenty in his bids, say, to improve public education and relieve congestion in Midtown Manhattan, he has had the greenest of thumbs. One of the principal legacies of his long mayoralty will be a city that, in certain charmed spots on certain charmed days, can feel as relaxed and breezy and kissed by nature as one of those ecologically vain enclaves of the Pacific Northwest. To the bustle of traffic, he has added the rustle of more trees, byways for bicycles, perches with exquisite views.

“Parks were on the front burner for this mayor and for Patti Harris, the deputy mayor, and I think that’s unique in this city’s history,” said Adrian Benepe, who will soon step down after 10 years as Bloomberg’s parks commissioner.

 “It is remarkable — remarkable — that the city made this investment,” said Michael Van Valkenburgh, a landscape architect whose firm designed the park, which cost more than $350 million. The city contributed nearly two-thirds of that. “There’s a profound amount of interest and activity right now in making and remaking urban parks. I think it’s because we are reinvested in the idea of living in cities.”

 “We’re living in an era of re-urbanization,” said Catherine Nagel, executive director of the City Parks Alliance, which is sponsoring the conference in New York. And the increased population density means that “we need green space,” she said.

Amazingly, we’re getting it: because citizens have demanded as much; because governments have made it a priority; because public and private partnerships have been cultivated. New York is the bright flower of all that. (extraits du NYT)



Visiblement New York est décidé à muter pour devenir une cité plus verte et moins polluée, notamment par le trafic automobile.

Un exemple à suivre. Il est vrai que les restaurations de Beliris du parc du Bois de la Cambre et du parc Josaphat ne manquent pas d'allure. A step in the right direction. Congratulations. Il est plus que temps de rendre à Bruxelles la dimension humaine qui était la sienne avant les grands bouleversements liés aux mégatravaux mis en chantier pour l'expo 58: priorité absolue au trafic automobile!

Surtout ne pas perdre de vue que ce sont les  nombreux parcs et espaces verts, sans oublier la forêt de Soignes qui font tout le charme de cette ville. Seule Berlin fait mieux. En somme ce devrait être la première mission de la région Bruxelles Capitale: promouvoir la qualité de vie de tous!
Il y a loin de la coupe aux lèvres. Et pourtant de la qualité des espaces publics dépend très largement la promotion du vivre ensemble. C'est cela que New York semble avoir si bien compris. Un exemple à suivre, de toute urgence!


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