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Members of the Professional Practice Networks (PPNs) were recently surveyed about their favorite spaces. Responses were varied and had many insightful comments and suggestions, which will be shared and discussed with everyone here over the next few months.

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This week we will revisit small spaces and examine why these suggestions were made. Here are the reasons behind the most often-cited small, yet mighty spaces: 

Albert Einstein Memorial, Washington, D.C.
“Very intimate setting in an urban environment, richly detailed and high emotional impact.”

Bryant Park, New York City
“It has been able to meet many needs and interests of the city over time.”
“The ability to make it your own with the free chairs, its seasonal change (ice rink, open space), backdrop of the library, and the well-proportioned buffer between park and bordering buildings/roads.”

Millennium Park, Chicago
“[Specifically] Cloud Gate, it is impressive how many people gather to interact with the sculpture.”
“Lots of small intimate areas within one space.”

Paley Park, New York City
“It’s a microcosm of relaxation amidst the bustle of midtown Manhattan. If you blink, you'll walk right by it.”
“[Its] size [and its influence] on landscape architecture and landscape architects.”
“Spectacular use of materials to mask the city.”
“Its energy—from water, people, and trees—is both restful and invigorating: a perfect oasis in the urban desert.”
“Perfect balance of light, shadow, form, function, proportion, scale, movement.”

Soldiers & Sailors Monument/Monument Circle, Indianapolis
“Good mix of pedestrian and vehicular circulation experiences in a compact urban area.”

Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Washington, D.C.
“I saw it when I was a teenager before I was a [landscape architect], and it made me get the magnitude of loss for the war, especially because it was interactive. A veteran was there and was telling us about how his friend on the wall died—shot in the shower—20 years later…he still missed him and the wall was able to help him share with strangers (teenagers nonetheless). I still think of him and hope he is okay.”

Here are the reasons for a few of the gardens that were mentioned: 

Durfee Conservatory, University of Massachusetts
“It has such a compelling combination of grand, historic trees, and modern materials in a relatively small space; a truly beautiful, intimate space.”

Bamboo Garden, Parc de la Villette, Paris
“The palette is restrained but individual elements are powerful. By descending to a lower level within the overall park, one feels enveloped in an enchanted ‘other world.’”

Healing Garden at St. Joseph’s Regional Health Center, Bryan, Texas
“Safe haven for patients and staff, healing sounds, healing smells, healing views, spaces to tuck in, get away, designed with therapeutic elements throughout and evidence-based design, different experiences and textures.”

The Waterfall Garden Park, Pioneer Square, Seattle
“It's a small, hidden urban park—mostly hardscape—with a great waterfall and ‘experiential equivalent’-type sculpture. A great place to tuck away from the crowd. A hidden gem.”

WPA Rock Garden, William Land Park, Sacramento, California
“Both in historical origin as a WPA project and its modern stewardship by a noted local plantswoman.”

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