Public Art and the City


Dick’s post about public art in cities prompts me to add this thought from my book-in-progress about the origin and impact of the national park in Lowell. In the early planning phase, advocates used the term urban cultural park for what they were envisioning for Lowell. That terminology changed when it became clear that the policy-makers in the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., preferred the term “historical park” for Lowell. There are other places that use the term “urban cultural park,” however, and the concept was innovative when it was introduced.—-PM


From Mill Power: Reclaiming Lowell’s Place and Story (a manuscript-in-progess):

          In The Inner City: A Handbook for Renewal, Paul M. Bray takes on the topic of urban cultural parks, citing Lowell and a network of towns in New York state as examples of this concept. ‘These communities have pursued the vision of the urban environment itself as a park, seeking to transform themselves into places where everything is interesting. They have expanded the notion of the park to include inhabited portions of the city,’ writes Bray. Scholar Galen Cranz extends the definition, saying that in these cases ‘the city was in fact a work of art worthy of appreciation and objectification.’


—Paul Marion, (c) 2013 by Lowell National Historical Park