Thursday 30 November 2006 12.02pm
I have posted before on how setting up a park cafe is almost always a good way of bringing people in to a park. I was talking about this to some people recently while we were in the park. We saw a woman come in with two kids. She stood in the play area while they played on the frames etc.. She looked pretty bored. After about 5 minutes they left.
Now if there was a cafe beside the play area she could have sat with a coffee - perhaps chatted to some other people there. In my example above, the woman may just have been busy and not bored, but I know that cafes give people a strong reason to spend a bit of time actually in the park. You get parents and kids, office workers with lunch, students hanging out etc.. - the typical mix you get in any cafe.
Obviously I would like to see something like the cafe in Highbury Fields (very nice!), but the cafe in Southwark Park is a good example of how this can be done cheaply and well.
This is particularly important for Mint Street
park because it is only the presence of other people which will make the park feel safe and welcoming
. You can only do so much with clever planting and fences and park furniture. Ultimately people will only go and spend time in Mint St Park only if they see other people in there.
I wish BOST all the best with their plans. This is a great opportunity to do something which will help revitalise Mint St Park. But if you don't put a cafe in, the park will remain relatively under-used and unwelcoming for another decade.
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