Friday, May 27, 2016

"Do not push the river - it flows by itself"

The joyous and complete takeover of open spaces by people who can't wait for summer, warmth and sun to flock to their city parks, rivers and embankments to sunbathe, swim, run, and bike can be observed on a warm spring holiday in Munich.
Restored Isar River, Munich: swarming with people
(photo: Klaus Philipsen)

Imagine the shores of a restored Jones Falls River, a clean Middle Branch, a Harbor clean enough to swim and a big network of trails allowing access by bike and on foot, all accessorized by beer gardens under big trees.

With the long Memorial Weekend ahead, such a vision is worth consideration. Gems like Druid Park and Patterson Park give a good inkling of what it could mean if people take back their open spaces, parks and waterways.

The frolicking along the banks of Munich's signature river Isar didn't come from nothing. It required the careful elimination of many men-made impositions the river had to tolerate over the decades when neither the city nor its river was cherished for quality of life  but seen only as a center of commerce. Just like the Jones Falls.
“The urban river concept combines the nature oriented design of an urban river with an urban lifestyle, it goes beyond simple cost benefit analysis and is of immeasurable value to the population”
Isar River restoration measures, Munich
It is time that we take our own Jones Falls equally seriously. With the trail complete, with beautiful the Cylburn Arboretum and the Druid Park adjoining plus a rapidly growing population in the Jones Falls Valley thanks to redevelopment, the river itself could use all the attention it can get, from Lake Roland Park (what was Robert E. Lee Park) to the Inner Harbor.

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

Isar restoration (Video)




the Isar "beaches" (photo: Klaus Philipsen)

Riding the bike to the beer garden on the Isar shores (photo: Klaus Philipsen)

An important staple of Munich's lifestyle: the beer garden. Isar beer garden Flaucher (photo: Klaus Philipsen)

accessible river shores