The Landscape Guide

16.23 Ethnic parks

Contents list

The Puerto Ricans who come to our cities today have no place to roast pigs outdoors. (Jacobs, 1962)

Many countries are now multi-ethnic, composed of groups that have different tastes, which deserve recognition in different spaces. Never forget Jane Jacobs' profound observation, quoted above. Why were the Puerto Rican tastes denied? For politically incorrect reasons: on the east coast of America people were expected to behave like good WASPs, buzzing around playing games, not sitting around roasting pork.

What are the preferences of other ethnic groups? I have noticed that:

  • Chinese and Italians enjoy collecting chestnuts;
  • Asians are enthusiastic about large family picnics;
  • Africans like to cook out of doors;
  • Japanese like cherry trees;
  • French like boule, which needs sandy or rough ground;
  • English like watching cricket;
  • Germans like beer gardens.
  • Turks like outdoor cooking

Instead of being lost in the melting pot, the traditions of outdoor life should give character to community open space.

Different cultures have different ways of using public open space