urbanism – landscape – ideas – theory – whimsy

Paradise By Any Other Name…

Paradise By Any Other Name...

What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
(Romeo & Juliet, Act II, Scene 2)

Every once in a while I come across a litte garden in the city that, perhaps unconsciously and for the briefest of moments, becomes worthy of an urban idyll, a little piece of paradise that reinvigorates my faith in the city.

Perhaps it’s the single sheet hung out to dry, or the ramshackle shed and overgrown fence, or the little patch of grass tracing the outlines of a path, or the unkempt and slightly wild “cottage garden” mystique.

Whatever it may be, it reminds me of the importance that private outdoor space plays in the city, even to those who can’t use it. Call it a vestige of the picturesque, but I feel that there remains a great value to the view into space (especially if it be green) even when we can’t access it ourselves – indeed I have noticed that the experience of being in a space that has looked so inviting and refreshing from afar frequently disappoints.

Anyone who has been to Venice will know of the intrigue and lusciousness that gardens hidden behind walls and glimpsed through gates and arches can bring to a city – so the next time you’re walking around your neighbourhood, stop and appreciate a moment of paradise, however brief, and then move on, and never regret that you have lost something by leaving, but rather stay vigilant, and await with utmost anticipation your next spatially-vicarious paradisical revelation.

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