Public Space is Sacred Space

I have a project in mind.  One from which I cannot seem to move on.  I wonder what our world would look like if we took a step back and reconnected with our community and it’s people and places.  I wonder how our daily vocations could be enriched with partnerships formed out of purpose.  I wonder if there room for everyone to pursue their calling and not just the elite.  I wonder how our world might be transformed.

It often seems as if life is too busy to acknowledge people as you pass them on the street, linger in conversation at the farmers market or retrieve a stray ball for a child at the park. I sometimes wonder if we have forgotten how to live in community with one another.

I often find myself thinking about public space and how much we take it for granted.  What would our city and our world look like if someone had not the foresight to preserve land for parks and sidewalks?  How has social media replaced the town square?

We seem to have a strange sense of entitlement that perhaps was not so apparent in past generations.  Parks are for everyone.  Those strange cement walkways on either side of the streets, they are public sidewalks. They do not belong to the home owners or the people who pay their neighborhood dues.  We are accustomed to having a place to wander, a park to enjoy, or a sidewalk to stroll down.

These public spaces are what connect us to each other and bind us to the world around us.  Without these common spaces along with the natural and man-made beauty that fills them, we have few reference points by which to relate to those who are different from ourselves.

The real questions might lie in the future of these public spaces.  Will there be a need for a public market as goods become more readily available online and shipped directly to our homes?  How much money is too much to spend on a piece of art that is just going to be passed everyday by the general public and not art connoisseurs? Why do sidewalks not line the streets of the suburban neighborhoods like they do in more urban settings?  Our society has been shaped through generations of people coming together by way of these sacred spaces.  How far are we willing to go to preserve them?

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