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Fwd: (Public.Spaces) Passive vs Active Recreation - Remember Recreation

  • Subject: [cg] Fwd: (Public.Spaces) Passive vs Active Recreation - Remember Recreation
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 15:28:58 EDT

Friends,

On the Project for Public Spaces listserve, which is beginning to "get it
 in regards to what community gardeners do, there was this all too 
intellectual discussion of the phrase "active" and "passive" in regards to 
recreation and how those terms were limiting in terms of what people did in 
parks and open spaces.  The discussion seemed theological , akin to  counting 
the number of angels on the head of a pin.  It is the kind of thinking that 
gets folks off of first principles, why we have parks and gardens instead of 
wall to wall Dairy Queens in the first place...

As usual, I butted in....

 Andy and All,
 
 So far, nobody seems to have been looking at the word "Recreation" much
 in this discussion, and maybe it's because when we see the phrase,
 "Parks & Recreation Department"  many of us have a vision of folks
 walking on paths, or sitting on benches, playing checkers, reading, or
 soaking up rays on the  grass (passive recreation) or playing ball
 games, swimming, gardening or engaging in activities that work up a
 sweat (active recreation).
 
 Maybe a definition of the word, "recreation," might be useful at this
 point (this from an American Heritage Dictionary near my PC),
 "Refreshment of ones mind or body after labor through diverting
 activity, play." OK - this seems to require folks to be engaged in some
 kind of sport or game.  But the root of the word, "recreation, " i.e.,
 "recreate" has more profound meaning:  1. To create anew; 2. To impart
 fresh life to; refresh mentally or physically ("to take recreation").
 The root is Latin: "recreare" - to create anew.
 
 From a parks and community garden volunteer's perspective:
 
 A simple bench, where a person can look at green, flowers, talk, eat
 lunch is recreation - it gives a person a chance to rest from their
 labors, chill, clear the columns of black and white figures they have
 been looking at all morning from their minds, or even, in the case of
 the refugee's from the former Yugoslavia who sit for hours on a time on
 the benches or the grass of  Clinton Community Garden, one particularly
 battered guy strumming a guitar, a chance to slowly rebuild their
 internal mental lives in a quiet, beautiful peaceful place.
 
 In places where active recreation takes place, like the softball fields
 in Central Park, there are always benches for people to recreate
 themselves by watching the play and diverting their minds from their
 daily troubles and engaging themselves in something different.
 
 No, I don't think the definitions of passive and active recreation are
 the problem.  The responsibility of a sane society is to make sure that
 ballfields, jogging tracks, and appropriate active programming in our
 Parks are adequately funded, that our vistas of green and gardens are
 well maintained and beautiful, that our garbage recepticles are kept
 emptied and not overflowing, and that those benches and lawns, where
 peoples bodies may be passive but their minds are actively recreating
 themselves are maintained and kept in good condition.
 
 To paraphrase Rabbi Akiva, "Everything else is commentary"
 
 Best wishes,
 Adam Honigman
 

--- Begin Message ---
  • Subject: (Public.Spaces) Passive vs Active Recreation - Remember Recreation
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Tue, 20 May 2003 11:43:58 EDT
Andy and All,=20

So far, nobody seems to have been looking at the word "Recreation" much
in this discussion, and maybe it's because when we see the phrase,
"Parks & Recreation Department"  many of us have a vision of folks
walking on paths, or sitting on benches, playing checkers, reading, or
soaking up rays on the  grass (passive recreation) or playing ball
games, swimming, gardening or engaging in activities that work up a
sweat.

Maybe a definition of the word, "recreation," might be useful at this
point (this from an American Heritage Dictionary near my PC),
"Refreshment of ones mind or body after labor through diverting
activity, play." OK - this seems to require folks to be engaged in some
kind of sport or game.  But the root of the word, "recreation, " i.e.,
"recreate" has more profound meaning:  1. To create anew; 2. To impart
fresh life to; refresh mentally or physically ("to take recreation").
The root is Latin: "recreare" - to create anew.=20

>From a parks and community garden volunteer's perspective:=20

A simple bench, where a person can look at green, flowers, talk, eat
lunch is recreation - it gives a person a chance to rest from their
labors, chill, clear the columns of black and white figures they have
been looking at all morning from their minds, or even, in the case of
the refugee's from the former Yugoslavia who sit for hours on a time on
the benches or the grass of  Clinton Community Garden, one particularly
battered guy strumming a guitar, a chance to slowly rebuild their
internal mental lives in a quiet, beautiful peaceful place.=20

In places where active recreation takes place, like the softball fields
in Central Park, there are always benches for people to recreate
themselves by watching the play and diverting their minds from their
daily troubles and engaging themselves in something different.

No, I don't think the definitions of passive and active recreation are
the problem.  The responsibility of a sane society is to make sure that
ballfields, jogging tracks, and appropriate active programming in our
Parks is adequately funded, that our vistas of green and gardens are
well maintained and beautiful, that our garbage recepticles are kept
emptied and not overflowing, and that those benches and lawns, where
peoples bodies may be passive but their minds are actively recreating
themselves are maintained and kept in good condition.

To paraphrase Rabbi Akiva, "Everything else is commentary"

Best wishes,
Adam Honigman

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