The Challenges of Providing Public Space with Private Funds

Private control of public space is a contentious issue , here in Cape Town the lack of funds for maintaining civic infrastructure and parks, this seems viable alternative but the example of City Improvement Districts, where the gentrification of the areas means that these who don’t fit the profile of a gentrified urbanism are more or less forcibly removed, this includes the homeless and self employed street traders, makes some doubtful of this abdication of the cities responsibility to maintain public space averrable for all its citizens.

THE DIRT

central-park Central Park Conservancy sign in Central Park Park, NYC / Sallanscorner.wordpress.com

In an age of ample private wealth and an increasingly constrained public sector, a number of American cities have become dependent on privately funded conservancies to maintain and refurbish their public parks. A new report by Peter Harnik, Hon. ASLA, and Abby Martin from The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence explores the rise of such city park conservancies — private organizations that use donations to rebuild, renovate, and, in some cases, maintain some of the most iconic parks in the country. Interspersed with examples from 41 conservancy organizations that have a collective experience record of nearly 750 years, the study serves as a how-to guide for building successful relationships between city governments and urban park conservancies.

While many park-support organizations exist throughout the country, including friends-of-parks groups and business improvement districts, the study defines a…

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