Recreation
The search for open space, that’s protected, organized, structured and comfortable, is one of the main motivations for the creation of Public space.
To see and to be seen. Public space forms have taken all shapes and forms along these years. Some more structured, more formal. Some just happen on the streets as matter of fact.
Space includes traditional social concepts as well as the recreation demanded for. Design from a human perspective. Adjust needs to space use. Imagine the use that people will make of outdoor space.
How will they come? What type of access? What are their
needs?
It’s unavoidable to consider my own experience as a park user. Successful recreational parks, reflected in their high frequency and popularity, include several characteristics. Which is most important: Location? Maintenance? Safety? Sensations? Perceived threats? Views? Attendance?
Who will be the users? What do they need/desire? How to deal with the potential tensions established? What are the best opportunities? How much flexibility? How to create flexible space?
Active and passive recreation. Both need to be considered.
Provide a healthy social environment. Create spaces that inspire contemplation and harmony.

Assumptions need to be made when choosing what type of activities will be included in the recreational portfolio. A general approach at this level of study induces me to choose popular hardcourt sports, such as basketball and volleyball as well as more passive activities, such as fishing and family outings for picnics.
A very popular choice among teenagers and kids is a skate park and the climate of the place asks for water activities, such as swimming pools, water features to get into and refresh the body.
Moms tending for their babies need space to let them play on grass in a protected environment, putting them to sleep and strolling within a quiet and peaceful environment, protected by shade and choice exposure to sun. Such facility also asks for a rest house with structure for taking full care of toddlers.
Active sports need to be separated from these passive environments that, in turn, can be more appropriately connected to the riverside vegetation that will be included in the space that separates them from the river.
Being a treacherous and dangerous river, the Mississippi at Baton Rouge is something to fear. A clear message that one needs to stay away from water needs to be conveyed. My idea is to create clear cut edges, with sharp falls of at least 8-10 feet, producing a gabion wall that will also work as a stabilizing structure.
Spanish town residents and the residential neighborhood on the northeast side of the Capitol building will most likely be the frequent users of the park.
Surrounding parks are extremely limited and offer a small range of activities.
The only parks West of I 110 and North of I 10, i.e. close to DeSoto Park, are two, very simple, small and nonequiped BREC facilities: Seventh St. Park (0.3 acres and a playground) and Convention Street Park (0.73 acres).
Other open spaces provide for some relaxation on grass but in a non-structured manner except perhaps for Spanish Town Park, 2.05 acres big with playground, basketball court and a baseball field and Kerr Warren Recreation Center, about 2 miles from Spanish Town and 3 miles from our site. Spanish Town itself is in the 1.5 mile range from DeSoto Park, usually not a walking distance in the heat of summer.
Further away one will find well-structured parks with several soccer fields, community centers, adult activity centers, extensive playgrounds, tennis courts, skateboard tracks, sheltered pavilions, sand courts, water playing features, decent maintenance and good use. Especially on weekends.
Being close to the water and at an advantageous high point in town, DeSoto park has a great potential for views of the river as well as the landscape in the horizon, including the I 10 bridge, about a mile away as the crow flies and the productive industrial/agricultural park that surrounds Baton Rouge.

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