Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The gazebo and the use of public spaces

There's a very interesting discussion on The Fairbanks Pedestrian of the problem of "designated use" for particular spaces, and how that ends up being wasteful, or discriminatory against, say, teenagers. Which made me think of the library gazebo.

The gazebo, although owned by a private nonprofit entity, will function like a public space for the village. And a ton of different uses for it keep getting suggested: visitors information center, outdoor reading room, concert hallette, bus stop, party palace. People will hang out and do stuff there. It has no "designated use"—it just is, and it'll be handy, and has a roof, and so you can get out of the rain. And because it is going to be used, by just about anybody, it will need to be sturdy. The OSB that is the basic layer of sheathing over the rafters isn't the strongest stuff, so I suggested to Hans (because he was worrying about it a bit) that he go ahead and reinforce the wider spans with more two-by-fours.

"Because," I said, "you know that some teenager is going to try to climb the thing and dance around on the roof, and you don't want them putting their foot through it and breaking their ankle. Not to mention repairing the roof." It may not be a teenager, either. You never know what will happen during the Fourth of July. There's nothing that can be done about somebody falling off and cracking their head open or breaking their neck from a bad fall, of course—fools are fools—and nobody should be on the roof anyway. But at least one measure of protection can be built in.

And speaking of the noble spousal unit, here's my lovely man, hard at work on installing the roofing.

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