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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Tivoli Gardens redux in Symphony Woods ?


      Recently the Washington Post had an interesting story about a proposed "Merriground" area for Symphony Woods that is pictured above.  This children's play area is just one of the ideas being considered to bring people to Symphony Woods.

     Above is a depiction of "an acoustical arrival" feature for the multiple entrances to a redesigned Woods.  This feature could have sounds from these features at certain times of the day.
         Right now most people seldom visit Symphony Woods except for Wine in the Woods and the Symphony of Lights.  This plan attempts to make Symphony Woods more like a small version of New York's Central Park or Rouse's vision of a "Tivoli Gardens" like park.  Rouse envisioned the area to have cultural-entertainment-recreational features that would include restaurants, bandstands, theaters, an amusement park, ice rink and a boat marina.  The area around Lake Kittamaqundi and Merryweather Post have some of these features but the original ideas have not been brought to fruition.  If this idea sounds familiar it was discussed in 2005 in a charette that was designed to bring more community activity to Symphony Woods and the downtown.  Earlier General Growth Properties had even proposed developing housing in this area.
     The dynamic of commercial and residential development versus community ascetics and enhancements has always existed in Columbia's development as it does in most communities.  With Rouse as a developer the community enhancements and "people features" were a central core in what was envisioned for Columbia.  Sure it had to meet sensible business goals and be profitable but it was never seen as secondary to the business goals.

     The dynamic mentioned above is also seen in the contrast with Microsoft and Apple.  Steve Jobs was the Jim Rouse of product development.  The ascetic quality of the products Apple produced was central to how the products were designed.  These design elements were what made Apple products so unique and profitable. Microsoft was considered boring and Apple products were chic.  Which is the more profitable approach? Check this story out.


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