The Best Spaces to Move Through

Sunrise over Paynes Prairie in Alachua County, Florida near Gainesville image: Wesley Hetrick via Flickr
Sunrise over Paynes Prairie in Alachua County, Florida near Gainesville
image: Wesley Hetrick via Flickr

In 2013, we asked Professional Practice Network (PPN) members about the best spaces to move through. While the concept of the architectural promenade—and its emphasis on moving through built spaces to get a full sense of them—is associated with the rise of modernism in the early twentieth century, the experience of landscapes has always been intrinsically tied to motion, pathways, and changing perspectives. An always changing view—as one walks, as the day progresses and the angle of the sun shifts, as the seasons change, and as crowds ebb and flow—is far more captivating than a static experience that does little to reward visitors passing through.

We received many unique ideas and suggestions on the best spaces to move through; the following were mentioned more than once:

A prairie

Battery Park, New York City

Central Park, New York City

Grand Central Terminal, New York City

The High Line, New York City

Times Square, New York City

The National Mall, Washington, DC

FDR Memorial, Washington, DC

Golden Gate Park and Bridge, San Francisco

Millennium Park, Chicago

The Grand Canyon, Arizona

Morning Light - San Francisco image: David Yu via Flickr
Morning Light – San Francisco
image: David Yu via Flickr

Campuses were also a popular answer, with Michigan State University, the Louisiana State University quadrangle, and the University of Washington Arboretum mentioned. In addition to the numerous other places that appeared among the responses, a few suggestions stuck out:

A pergola dripping with fragrant flowers on a summer day

A tree-lined bicycle path

Detroit airport terminal tunnel

Graceland Cemetery, Chicago

The pathways through the watershed areas of Reston, Virginia

Naumkeag, Stockbridge, Massachusetts: “A series of garden rooms both inward and outward looking lead one through the spaces, with a few surprises along the way.”

One of the moose-made trails at the Grand Tetons: “You never know ‘who’ or ‘what’ you’ll meet!”

Sequoia National Park walking trail: “The scale of trees vs. humans is awesome.”

Ganna Walska Lotusland, California

Sunrise at Camas Prairie Centennial Park near Hill City, Idaho image: Charles Knowles via Flickr
Sunrise at Camas Prairie Centennial Park near Hill City, Idaho
image: Charles Knowles via Flickr

At the start of 2013, a questionnaire was sent out to members of ASLA’s Professional Practice Networks (PPNs). The theme: favorite spaces. As you can imagine, responses were varied, and included many insightful comments and suggestions. Synopses of the survey results were originally shared in LAND over the course of 2013, and we are now re-posting this information here on The Field. For the latest updates on the results of the annual PPN Survey, see LAND’s PPN News section.

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