So I have been reminded that we have a lot of public BBQs in parks here in my city, which is apparently not that common.

A little while ago, Mum told me the story of why we have these: basically one of her friends at the time was hired into the local government department dealing with community spaces.


Friend had basically lied on her CV about the level of experience she had in the field, and found herself very out of her depth with people expecting her to be The Expert in a job she had, quite honestly, NFI about.

When they came to her asking for her proposal to increase usage of public land, she basically just blurted out the first thing she could think of, i.e. putting BBQs in all the public parks.

This was like forty-something years ago and, to this day, they build new public parks in my city with BBQs in them that anyone can use. It's been super freakin' successful.

Basically, tl;dr don't underestimate the power you can (sometimes inadvertently) wield as a relatively junior civil servant in local government.

Relatedly, one of my friend's mum's spent the last decade or so getting a PhD in increasing the use of public land and if you've noticed a lot more things like community art spaces have appeared in Wollongong over the last decade or so?

Yeah. That was her.

@alis a park without sketchy public grills is barely worth the name

@alpine_thistle Nothing particularly sketchy about the ones here; the city government (apparently the transport department, of all things) comes around and maintains them, because they're always pretty clean (they're the electric type with the stainless steel plate). Plus they usually have integrated taps/faucets for water and... IDK people just clean them I guess?

@alpine_thistle Yeah those would definitely not work here given it’s forbidden to light fires outside for like 90% of the year…

@alpine_thistle @alis that's what it's have too, if they have any at all, and I've never seen anyone use one

@alis @alpine_thistle

Good god, if that was built here in the States, outside of a gated community, people would be screaming "Stalinism" at the top of their lungs.

@emma @alpine_thistle Incidentally, "Stalinism's" actual ideology in this space was the re-appropriation of aristocratic institutions, e.g. palaces, and their aesthetic as public places. Which is why the Moscow Metro looks like it does; it was the original "luxury communism."

The aesthetic moved pretty quickly into the Socialist realist style we nowadays associate with the Soviet era (and that looks so much like WPA-era Art Deco US art and architecture), but it did have a brief "fancy" phase.

@alis @alpine_thistle

Yes, and here in the States, the notion of public amenities, of any kind, especially restrooms, brings so much indignation.

@alis @alpine_thistle that's nuts. That's what luxury apartment buildings here have in their rooftop gardens.

@Magess @alpine_thistle Civil servant town. Oddly enough we like electing governments that invest in performing civil services...

@alis @alpine_thistle yeah, we don't provide nice things to the public basically ever. I can't imagine how something like that would last without being immediately stripped for parts either.

@Magess @alpine_thistle One of the things my friend's mum's PhD is about is basically using aesthetic public space to increase civic pride. People who are proud of the public facilities in their city tend not to want to destroy them.

Ironically it was the US that was the modern founder of this sort of thing with the national parks system. People forget how revolutionary (and controversial) that was at the time, and how everyone else copied it.

@alis @alpine_thistle I suppose I'm not surprised that we've fallen in that like in everything else.

@alis @alpine_thistle those are so fancy! The ones we have are more like Amanda's -- tho they do still get a lot of use in the summer

@enchantedsleeper @alpine_thistle lol no it's just a bog-ass standard public park (in a not particularly affluent part of town, FWIW).

@alis @alpine_thistle Yes, we have nice parks here too xD But you said a grill, and that looks more like a series of buildings

@enchantedsleeper @alpine_thistle The thing in the middle is an electric BBQ; you can't have open flames outside here most times of the year, so we don't have "grills" per se.

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