Saving an Historic Site — Then What?

When Cynthia Lee Hong-yee found out that her family planned to sell her grandfather’s private garden to developers, she returned from the United States to take photos of the lush greenery and eclectic Western-influenced Chinese architecture. “I was capturing some of the details and I realized I just couldn’t capture Dragon Garden’s greatness,” she said. […]

Posted in: Architecture, Art and Design, Asia Pacific, Heritage and Preservation, History, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Saving an Historic Site — Then What? , , , , ,

Morning Coffee: Tao Dan Park

I knew I would like Ho Chi Minh City the minute I had my first cup of coffee. Any city where it’s normal to take a leisurely mid-morning coffee break is fine by me — especially when those coffee breaks take place with birdcages and newspapers in a public park. Last year, I wrote about […]

The Great Awakening

It’s spring, the snow has melted and Montreal is undergoing its annual awakening. “Spring is like an autopsy,” Leonard Cohen wrote in his 1966 novel, Beautiful Losers. “Everyone wants to see the inside of the frozen mammoth. Girls rip off their sleeves and the flesh is sweet and white, like wood under green bark. From […]

Posted in: Canada, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on The Great Awakening , , , ,

Public Sex and Peeping Toms

Kohei Yoshiyuki was walking through a Tokyo park one night in the early 1970s when he noticed people having sex in the bushes. Then he noticed people spying on the people having sex. That must have been when he decided to get his camera. Using infrared film and flash, Yoshiyuki followed and surreptitiously photographed the […]

High Times

Opening weekend for the High Line, Manhattan’s latest, most expensive new playground, is a mob scene: a line of cabs and SUVs blocks long throng the streets of the Meatpacking District, which, full for once, seem almost grateful to be receiving as much attention as they did when trucks filled with carcasses from somewhere west […]

It Ain’t Easy Being Green

I never thought I would say this, but you know what? I miss grass. I miss being able to visit a park and do what I want in an expanse of unstructured space. Hong Kong doesn’t have many parks to begin with and those that do exist are invariably full of concrete, with greenery encased […]

Morning Coffee: Coffee on Demand

Coffee is a big part of the social life of Saigon, a city that somehow manages to be both languid and relentlessly energetic in nearly equal measure. Hundreds of cafés and coffee stands dot the city: relaxed neighbourhood hangouts with a few plastic seats out front to watch the city go by; leafy park cafés […]

Green Lungs of Hong Kong

Watering the plants in Shatin Park On one of those smoggy days when you’re stuck in the crowds on Nathan Road, choking on diesel fumes and looking in vain for a bit of relief, it’s pretty hard to believe that country parks, city parks and natural areas make up more than half of Hong Kong’s […]

Posted in: Asia Pacific, Environment, Politics by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on Green Lungs of Hong Kong , ,

Holiday Commute

Getting around in winter is a challenge wherever it snows. Montreal, after a few predictable glitches following the first couple of storms, usually does a pretty good job in making walking and, increasingly, biking possible. Skiing, too: the cross country trail on Mount Royal now takes off from the intersection of Pine and Park, and […]

Posted in: Canada, Transportation by Mary Soderstrom 1 Comment , , , ,

Ginkgo / Silver Maple

Jarry Park, Park Extension, November 2nd, 2008

Posted in: Canada, Environment by Kate McDonnell Comments Off on Ginkgo / Silver Maple , , ,

Not Montreal’s Smallest Park, But Close

“It’s not much of a park,” said Jocelyne, a middle-aged woman sitting on a bench in St. Henri, gesturing to the small green space behind her. “It’s okay, but you can’t call it a park because it really isn’t one. There’s no place to wander, nowhere for kids to play. It’s just two benches and […]

Posted in: Canada, Public Space by Christopher DeWolf 1 Comment , , ,

No Poor People Here

Every summer, Prince’s Island — a beautiful island park in the Bow River, right next to downtown Calgary — plays host to a number of large festivals, including the always-interesting folk music festival, which took place last week with some big headliners and great enthusiasm. These festivals are an asset to the cultural life of […]

Posted in: Art and Design, Canada, Politics, Public Space, Society and Culture by Christopher DeWolf Comments Off on No Poor People Here , , , ,

Mount Royal at Night

For years, I ignored the brooding hulk of Mount Royal at night, pausing only occasionally to contemplate the shape of its silhouette or the glow of the cross atop it. It was only recently that I actually began to venture onto the mountain after dark, well after most park-goers head home, and when the woods […]

Walking Outremont’s Parks

On a warm day—or, even better, on a warm night—I like to walk through Outremont. It’s one of Montreal’s most picturesque boroughs, with streets as orderly and genteel as many of its inhabitants. Like Westmount, Outremont was conceived almost from the beginning as an enclave of the well-to-do. Building codes mandated large setbacks, abundant greenery […]