Some inhabitants of Los Angeles (I’m one of them) regularly complain about the lack of public space. Oh sure there’s are biggish parks – Griffith Park is over 4000 acres – but going there can be a major expedition, especially when all you want is somewhere to sit for twenty minutes and eat a sandwich. You need a little area – doesn’t have to be fancy - with a bit of grass and a bench, the kind of thing you find all over London and other cities. This kind of thing:
For a long time there used to be a bench in my neighborhood. It wasn’t strictly public, I think, because it was on a long thin strip of land that actually belonged to somebody’s house. Clearly it was unusable as part of a garden, and there was no point fencing it off because that made it even less usable. And so the land was left open, and a bench placed there for the public weal.
In ten years of walking around the local streets I believe I saw the bench being used exactly twice. I sat on it a couple of times myself because I felt it should be embraced, but nobody could pretend it was a great local resource. And in any case, it’s now gone.
Walking: I do believe it sharpens up the powers of observation. But sometimes you need a nudge.