Schmidt design landscape

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Schmidt design landscape for the entire island of Manhattan is very attractive to New Yorkers, but is it too big?

I can’t speak for the entire island of Manhattan, but I’d be happy to live there. For someone used to a small apartment in a Manhattan high-rise, the suburbs seem very large. But, perhaps I’m too sensitive to the scale of living in a large city. In any case, I was recently discussing with a friend how we would live when we are financially well off. I had a very large image of myself and my wife on the lawn of a Manhattan apartment and had a very detailed design of how we would fill the lawn, our garden, our house, etc. My friend commented to me that the house looked like a huge mansion on the side of the island. She pointed out that the buildings on the other side of the island would probably frown upon a big house right on their lawns. At first, I thought she was joking. I replied that the buildings weren’t too much taller than my house so there should be no issues. She responded, “well, those buildings aren’t on the lawn.” I was stunned and said, “what do you mean they aren’t on the lawn?” She explained that the lawn is a common area. The buildings are not allowed to be on the grass. My first question is, “how could that be a violation? It’s just grass!”

It’s a very common misconception that land, specifically garden land, is a commonly owned resource like air or water. Land that is not a public park is treated like property of the individual. It can be used, it can be sold, etc. In this way, there is a market value for the land and land owner can decide who can and cannot use his land. The problem is that this is not the case with garden land. The definition of “garden land” does not include the land under the trees. That is the common area that should be protected for the health and safety of the trees and the general public. The public park, of course, should be protected. This includes the park itself but also all the land between the park and the sidewalk, road, etc. I suppose that when you start making exceptions in land ownership you get into trouble pretty quickly. If you have a dog park, why should that not be part of your common area? If you allow dogs in a park, why would that not be allowed for others in an apartment complex?

So, I have to wonder what other land has been misused or abused because of the “common area” concept. The common areas of our houses or apartment buildings seem to be the only common areas that are regularly used by everyone. The playground, the pool, the common areas of the school, the parks, etc. are all owned by the individual and used in the manner that the owner chose. Of course, the common areas of the schools are used as the teachers have more flexibility to control the use of the area and how it is used.

There is probably a book or paper that addresses how the common area concept is causing issues in our society. I have not read it but have heard it referenced many times.

As always, thanks for reading and sharing your ideas on this blog. Please let me know what you think about the idea of using my blog as an experiment to explore new ways to make cities more sustainable. Is it worth the time to read? How do you suggest I make the blog more interesting? Would a monthly book review section be a good addition?

I’ve seen this problem with shared space in apartment buildings. The common areas are often used exclusively by the apartment residents. You could have a few hundred people in a large apartment building, and the people using the common space are almost always a very small fraction of the residents. I suspect that the apartments with the more exclusive use of common space is also a factor in this.

I’d be happy with a monthly book review section, particularly for people who live in apartments and want to read new books on urban issues. You can be as involved as you like — I can even try to be a reviewer if you like! I’ll also be happy to talk more about your ideas and thoughts, so you can share with me what you think about the concept. Let me know if you want to exchange a few words.

It’s the “how” of creating a new culture where we all thrive and grow that I find most exciting, and I am happy to help with whatever it takes. Let me know what you think!

The concept of shared space — defined as “private property under common use” — has been around for a while, and is common in many neighborhoods. In many city districts, shared space is even legally defined by city officials.

The goal is to use the common space as much as possible to promote the public good. This means that the residents’ behavior and use of the space needs to be sustainable, with the understanding that we all live in a city with limited resources.

There are of course several ways to create a sustainable use of the space. The most common way is to put rules in place for the residents to follow. This can be done in several ways.

Some people and organizations in New York have implemented a “No Loitering” policy. They put up bright yellow police tape in the middle of the space to warn residents that they are prohibited from lingering in the shared space. As a result, even if the area is open to the public, no one is allowed to sit or loiter in the area. The goal is to clear the space of any undesirable, unruly individuals and make the public use of the space more pleasant.

In other instances, there can be rules of conduct such as the following:

Parking in front of the building is only allowed for one half hour.

Residents must leave their garbage bags on the curb every evening, and not in the shared space.

Residents can move their cars into the back of the building if they want to leave the car there overnight.

No cars are allowed in the parking lot at any time.

There are many other options as well.

When shared space is defined in the law, it can be enforced by the courts. For example, in California there are shared spaces between the residents and the businesses. The businesses can legally close the shared space for business hours. However

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