It’s “open season on open space,” according to The Cultural Landscape Foundation, a non-profit working to protect significant shared spaces in the U.S. The foundation’s latest “Landslide” report highlights over 30 at-risk landscapes ranging from Manhattan’s modernist Greenacre Park—where rezoning threatens to engulf the midtown oasis in shadow—to Utah’s Bears Ears, one of a number of national monuments established under the 1906 Antiquities Act now under review.
“Open space is too often treated as a void, absent any cultural significance and waiting to be filled,” said the foundation’s President and CEO Charles A. Birnbaum in a statement. “This can lead to incompatible uses ranging from resource extraction to development, and outright confiscation of parkland held in public trust, which threatens park equity and equal access for all.”
The sites included in the 2017 Landslide report were chosen from more than 200 submissions across the country, many of which involve public spaces being privatized or monetized for private companies.
One of the sites highlighted is Coyote Valley, California, a 7,400-acre swath of farmland and the largest area of undeveloped space above Silicon Valley’s groundwater aquifer. Its wildlife corridor is threatened by development plans.
The design and public benefit of Chicago’s Jackson Park is also at risk, due to the confiscation of 21 acres of land for the Obama Presidential Center. In Massachusetts, the iconic Boston Common is at risk of being overshadowed by a proposed 700-foot-tall office tower that would volate the state’s shadow law. And in Minnesota, proposed mining in the Boundary Canoe Area Wilderness has the potential to leech chemicals into the water system.
Once selected a Landslide site, the landscapes are then monitored by the TCLF and can benefit from more focused advocacy to keep them safe.
See the full list of at-risk sites below and learn more about each right over here.
- Coyote Valley, San Jose, CA
- Jackson Park, Chicago, IL
- New Orleans' Parks, LA
- Boston Common, MA
- Boundary Waters, northeastern MN
- Battery Park City, New York, NY
- Greenacre Park, New York, NY
- State House Grounds, Providence, RI
- Fort Negley Park, Nashville, TN
- James River, Jamestown, VA
- Discovery, Seattle, WA
- Sanctuary Woods, Wauwatosa (Milwaukee County), WI
- The Antiquities Act of 1906 (various locations)