Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Public and Private in an Art Town

I'm nothing if not a delayed reaction, but a week ago Friday a Commercial Appeal editorial, while advocating a worthy alternative for the Promenade, stated that the
idea represents a good compromise between the goals of the Riverfront Development Corporation, which wants to bring more vitality to that part of the waterfront, and the Friends for Our Riverfront, a citizens group that wants to preserve as much open space as possible.
This not only trivializes the difference between these 2 groups, factions, philosophies, it misstates the difference. From what I've seen both factions want vitality and open space.

The difference is how much of the Promenade will be privately developed and controlled, and how much will remain, or restored to, public use.

At core it's neither a technical nor aesthetic difference. It's a struggle between the public and the private, over the public realm. It's a central civic issue.

Not that we can't* or shouldn't compromise, but we can and should understand what we're compromising.

By the way, kudos to the Memphis Art Park for their proposal and for this audacious statement from their website:

We're an art town first and foremost.


* maybe. There is also the legal issue, which is the public position written into an easement. It may not allow for compromise, but IANAL.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good piece! The CA editorial certainly did miss the point.

9:55 PM  

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