What Robert Moses Got Right (And Kansas City Got Wrong)

MLewyn's picture

Robert Moses is most famous (or perhaps infamous) for paving over large chunks of New York City with highways.  But he also built and rehabilitated thousands of acres of parks and playgrounds; and in this area his contribution to the city was more unambiguously positive.   

Moses believed parks should be used not just for leisurely contemplation but for active recreation; for example, he added eighteen playgrounds to Central Park alone.  Moses also commonly added ballfields, tennis courts and other sports-oriented spaces to city parks.

By contrast, Kansas City has many chunks of lawn that include no active uses whatsoever; some of them don't even include benches to sit on.  These grasslands (see here for an example) waste lawn that could be used for housing or commerce, artificially reducing city density and value without creating any compensating value.   


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