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TED TALK: Opening Minds to Open Spaces
Sherryl Parks | City Council Liaison to Shores Committee


It is a proven fact that the quality of open space is what makes cities work in the 21st Century.

The Council recently called for volunteers to help advise us in planning the Shores Park. Fortunately we received over 20 applications so an interview to select our advisors became necessary. To ‘jump start’ the group, and get them thinking outside the conventional ideas of what a park would look like, I requested that all interviewees watch the TED Talk by then Director of the New York City Department of City Planning, Amanda Burden, “How Public Spaces Make Cities Work.”

I saw some similarities between our very small city and NYC. Both cities are built out, yet we continue to attract more residents and visitors. How best will we accommodate people, giving them the high quality of daily life they expect in Del Mar?

Amanda Burden came to planning for NYC having studied animal behaviors. She studied what works to put living beings at ease. She walked hundreds of neighborhoods in NYC to ‘get a feel’ for the places that could benefit from making them more livable. She managed to rezone over 100 neighborhoods to allow different uses. She encouraged seating, green patches of vegetation and simple access for both pedestrians and bikers. Her best known projects include the High Line Park (which was an abandoned railway line) and the Brooklyn Water front. She framed these open spaces to be destinations and not simply somewhere folks needed to walk through to get somewhere else!

My motivation for having our advisors take a look at the 20-minute TED Talk was to get them thinking in a broader way about this park space. Our 3.4 acres of land can be a place with a brand new look and feel. Technologies, landscaping, and architects have fresh ideas for us to consider before we lock ourselves into old ways of thinking. We have creative minds on the committee, but they needed permission to think outside the box.

The response from those who viewed the TED Talk was positive, in fact many were excited to get started. The first meeting of SAC will be June 11 at City Hall Annex at 9 a.m. The public is welcome to attend but you might want to view the Ted Talk first: here


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