Cyclists on Schuster Parkway, Tacoma, WA

Downtown to Defiance

In my ongoing survey about the Ruston Way waterfront, visitors expressed concern about car traffic and the potential for increased traffic due to the residential and commercial development at Point Ruston. Some visitors also expressed interest in closing Ruston Way to create bike and pedestrian pubic access. Suggestions included closing the road on weekend mornings or one…

Amy Ryken walking on the Ruston Way Waterfront, Tacoma, WA

Walking

In The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot, Robert Mcfarlane’s highly descriptive writing paints a visual picture of walks taken in England, Scotland, Palestine, Spain, and the Himalayas. As Mcfarlane notes, walking paths offer, “not only means of traversing space, but also ways of feeling, being and knowing” (p. 24). Pilgrims have used paths and…

Sign, Ruston Way Waterfront, Tacoma, WA

Public Shore

This week I read Carolyn Finney’s book Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors. Finney critically analyzes how parks and outdoor spaces, and people who use them, are represented in the media, policy, and society. She notes that the Civil Rights Act and the Wilderness Act were both…

South Pond, Ritsurin Garden, Takamatsu, Japan

Watersheds and Water Engineering

This week in Japan I visited two parks on Miyajima Island and gardens in Okayama and Takamatsu. These experiences have made me consider how water powerfully shapes landscapes and how humans use a variety of strategies to control the flow and movement of water. Miyajima Island Miyajima Island, or Shrine Island, is designated as one…

View of Tokyo Tower and Cityscape, Tokyo

Nearby Nature in a Megacity

Tokyo is one of the world’s largest and most populated cities. It is best known as a vast metropolis or megacity, yet 3.44% of Tokyo is green space. This week I visited green spaces in Tokyo—gardens, shrine complexes, parks, and tree-lined walkways. I also had the opportunity to visit Tamagawa University to visit elementary classrooms…

Visitors Taking in Views of Vashon Island and Commencement Bay from the Les Davis Pier, Tacoma, WA

Waterfront Parks

Waterfront Parks in New York City Waterfront parks are important reminders about how cities rely on water for manufacturing and transport of goods and how ports can facilitate economic development. While I was in New York I visited two waterfront parks, Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Hudson River Park. Both of these parks are mixed-use…

Re-installed High Line rails and plantings

High Line: Freight Railway as Public Park

This week Holly and I made a 3 minute video about the High Line. In this video we share images of the park while exploring how purposefully placed artifacts, like railroad tracks, are powerful teachers, how plants led the way for park design, and how seeing city views and ongoing construction invites visitors to re-consider…

Foreground: Urban Rattle by Charlie Hewitt, background: spray art and Ed Ruscha’s mural Honey I Twisted Through More Damn Traffic Today

Art on and off the High Line

As an artist, I’m inspired by the natural world but I’m also inspired by the art other artists create and how that work is displayed. In this blog post I explore the different types of art I observed on and near the High Line. The thoughtfully curated art on the High Line is primarily sculpture,…

Visitors strolling on the High Line

High Line: Strolling and Sitting

During the past two weeks I’ve spent time exploring New York City’s High Line. Last week I wrote about how the High Line spaces create a sense of both expanse and enclosure. This week I consider how the park design fosters strolling and sitting, and why those two activities are potentially important for park visitor…

Pedestrians on the street level and on the raised High Line park walkway

High Line: Initial Impressions

This week I visited New York City’s High Line, a former urban freight railway that has been re-envisioned as a public park. The High Line provides a purposeful contrast to the Ruston Way waterfront (Tacoma, WA) as both share an industrial history, are sites of preservation and transformation, and have deep connections to rail transport.…