Where does the park end and the city begin? Can we talk about the park without relating it to the city? While the park is centered within the cityscape as its social and leisure public domain, it is also decentered from the dominant functional ethos of urbanity. The architects Jusuck Koh and Anemone Beck alert us to the direction that contemporary parks are taking: They are becoming more distanced and cosmopolitan, and conditioned for peripheral consumption by the passersby. What seems to diminish is the nurturing, local, and intimate design of the urban park that evokes sensuality, belongingness, and a sense of community. In making their case for a
more vibrant ecology of public leisure space, they suggest a dismantling of conventional boundaries between the park and the city:
As much as possible a park should not be bounded or bordered in a zone deﬁ ned by city planners or a social sector. It must be open: visually, socially and ecologically. It also needs to be programmatically open to change, open to participation of community, open to aesthetic participation of users by using comprehensible formal languages, and open to momentary or time-share ownership of the users. Desirably, an urban park today could reach out into the city like an octopus. Likewise, it could let the city come in with its urban uses and activities, with restaurants, theaters, museums, or even complementary housing. The result would be a ‘park in the city’ or a ‘city in the park,’ realizing necessary interpenetration and mutual complementarity between nature and culture, and park and city. (2006, p. 16)
While indeed the intermingling of these two spheres can be eff ective in shaping a more livable social environment, boundaries continue, underlining the historical persistence of social practice within these realms. When these borders blur, we need to pay attention to points of convergence and divergence.