- Safety, security, self-deceit: What Maggie Daley Park says about Chicago – Opinion – Crain’s Chicago Business (PDF)
The article begins:
Tomorrow, Chicago will know who its mayor will be for the next four years. There’s a fair amount of doom looming on the horizon no matter who wins. But either way, it’s hard not to see the new $60 million (and counting) Maggie Daley Park—its construction announced at a joint event hosted by former Mayor Richard M. Daley and current Mayor Rahm Emanuel—as an emblem of all that’s at stake in the city.
The park’s architect, Michael Van Valkenburgh, said he designed it to appeal “to children and those young of heart.” When I visited the park last month—every perimeter fenced in, every walking path imagineered to within an inch of its life, every playscape labeled with the approved ages of its users—it seemed more apt to appeal to those willfully ignorant of mind, those happy to ignore the fact that for plenty of children in vast swaths of this city, there are almost no opportunities for recreation, or really opportunities of any kind.
Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin has suggested that “the wooden play equipment looks like a schoolyard playground on steroids.” Hearing that judgment, it’s hard not to think of the 50 public schools that Emanuel closed in 2013 over vigorous protest, most of them in poor neighborhoods mostly inhabited by people of color.
Maggie Daley Park—this fenced-in little Ikea on the lake, modularly obstructing the skyline—is a symptom of a city engaged in self-deceit, not replacing blight with beauty but superciliously replacing beauty (the site was already a park; construction of the new facilities required the removal of 900 trees) with putative “beauty” that is really just “safety” of the most narrow kind.
Meanwhile, the rest of the city languishes. Consider Garfield Park on Chicago’s West Side, where the murder rate is 85.2 per 100,000—stratospherically higher than in the Loop.
The irony is that the Urban Cycling Movement has opened its arms to this ‘willful ignorance‘ about conditions in the city and even bragged about its influence and suddenly has decided that they are to be split over two candidates.
This is the Stockholm Syndrome written large. Neither of the candidates can be trusted. But most importantly the Urban Cycling Movement is worse than either of these gentlemen.
It is time to dismantle the group and start over again. We need a Slow Roll of the People. Kick out the ones who embrace Critical Mass and the Naked Bike Ride and usher in younger urbanites who recognize that being a member of MBAC is a sign of absolutely nothing.
Inn fact anyone who has been to a photo-op should probably be disqualified.