What is a public garden? Is it a place with a sign that says this is a public garden therefore you must enjoy yourself here. Well yes and no. Brendan prefers to think public garden slash public space. And what constitutes a public garden really depends where you are in the world.
In Australia we have beautiful landscapes and wide open spaces and we enjoy great weather for most of the year. So for us – public spaces are no-brainers. We’ve got beaches, parks, and the bush to enjoy.
So what do you do if your summer and sunshine is condensed into a few short months of the year and your public space is not so wide and not so open like in Denmark ? The place they like to go is the world famous garden, The Tivoli. And they come in droves to enjoy the flowers, the restaurants, the rides, and the theatre performances. Tivoli opened more than a hundred years ago and is like an organised theme park.
In Tokyo, as the city continues to expand, the number of green spaces is going from less to none. It’s no surprise that they have to manufacture public space here, but rather than theme parks their public gardens like this one at Roppongi Hills often tell stories of people, place and tradition. This public garden feels less formal than Tivoli, but again it’s a public space manufactured to meet the needs of its users. This time it’s a need for greenery in a city choked with concrete.
Although there are many city parks and even beaches in the Spanish city of Barcelona, it’s the streets and squares that the locals use as their public gardens. Here they meet to drink coffee, play ball games, dance the Sardana, fall in love, and break up.
So there’s a world of difference when it comes to how we view public space. But it is essentially whatever lies beyond your front door. And in Australia it’s usually something pretty special.