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Our Park..In the Middle of the Street..

They say that one way or the other what we do for a living or what we learned from the books have influences on how we see new things even people and places.  Just a few years ago, I realized that this is true for me.

For about 10 years I have been working in a city planning office handling technical cooperation. My main task is to look for possible collaboration between our city and other cities within and outside the Philippines. To do this, I always look for good and sound practices which our city can learn from other cities and vice-versa. Little did I realize that I inhibit this habit even in my personal travels. And even if I am no longer working in that office, I still try to identify city best practices subconsciously.  So from this time on I will also write some city practices or projects which I think can be beneficial for others to serve as models.

Japan has been known for its innovative technologies and ideas on maximizing and optimizing small spaces since lots and open areas are scarce due to high population. We often see documentaries about a 2 x 3 meters of space converted into a very functional living area. But what awe me more is the strip park placed in the middle of the roads here in Edogawa.

Known as the Kasai Shinsui Shiki no Machi (or Shinsui park), this is a strip park placed  in five key areas within Edogawa to provide a recreational facility for people to enjoy being close to water. In total, the park is around 8.5 kilometers. It offers small pools, streams and beautiful landscapes for people to enjoy.

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Map of Shinsui Park

Here are some strong points of Shinsui Parks why I think this is a good practice:

1. It provides a safe and secure walk path especially for kids.

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Walking here feels like walking in a traditional garden

Edogawa is a highly residential area from single-detached houses up to high-rise condominiums and apartments. Although it has huge open spaces of green and recreational facilities, its sidewalks are limited especially in the city center. And since a big portion of Shinsui Park is located in the middle of the streets, this allows people to walk safely especially the children and senior citizens.

Likewise, it serves as a connector to adjacent parks and other recreational facilities thus providing people a continuous green environment.

2. It gives additional natural aesthetic to the area.

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Enjoying the colors of autumn

Various trees and plants were placed on the sides of the parks. Also, the parks were designed to look more natural. The variety of plants create different scenes every season. I personally enjoy walking in this park and admiring the sakuras (cherry blossoms) in spring and the bright yellow leaves of ginko trees and red orange colors of maple leaves in autumn.

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The lush greens of spring

3. It is a multi-functional recreation facility.

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A small habitat for plants and small animals

Aside from serving as walk paths, the Shinsui park also serve as resting areas for students and works during lunch breaks; exploration and learning area for kids; summer recreation facility; rain harvester; and flood control facility. I enjoy looking at kids when they swim in the mini-pools during summer or play paper boats in the streams. Sometimes, my husband and I try to look for small crabs or fish while we walk back to his office after having lunch. Or we sometimes see if the rice plants are ready for harvesting.

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A small patch of rice field in the middle of a busy road

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