Exploring the intersection of public space and homelessness


Episode 4: Sarah Dooling

There are very few voices out there who would question the nearly panacea-like effects of adding more community greenspace. In popular media and academia, new research seems to be emerging daily documenting the significant health, developmental, biological and economic boon that investing in high-quality open space affords cities, and marquee projects like the High Line, Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Olympic Sculpture Park, and Millenium Park seem to reinforce that to be a 21st Century city and attract 21st century talent, you need to invest in open space.

Yet what if that was only a part of the story? What if, to tweak Richard Florida’s recent framing, there was a New Urban Greenspace Crisis that offered a contradictory narrative of displacement that harmed some of the most vulnerable people in our communities? Are those concerns real? And if so, what do we do about them?

These are just some of the difficult questions that Sarah Dooling confronts us with. And her critiques--and where she sees the greatest opportunity for advancement—challenge the owners, builders, designers, engineers and politicians who shape the built environment.

Ultimately, Sarah invites us to define a new way of building—calling for a more synthetic practice that includes politics and economics—to make stronger, more resilient communities. I hope you enjoy our conversation.