I’m a little obsessed with the proliferation of under-programmed urban park space in the United States, but it is worth acknowledging that this is to an extent an idiosyncratic element of legacy colonialism in DC. The vast majority of our parkland is controlled not by the city government, but by the National Park Service and its annoying rules:
Well, it turns out that the National Capital Region does have its own place in the law. But that section of the Code of Federal Regulations mostly deals with permitting demonstrations, and is otherwise more proscriptive than anywhere else, forbidding everything from swimming to ice skating to flying model planes, on top of blanket prohibitions on things like food vending outside a concession contract. Even with progressive plans like CapitalSpace—which was approved by the National Capital Planning Commission last year but has yet to be implemented—those are the kinds of rules that will prevent D.C.’s parks from serving D.C.’s citizens.
I, for one, think our local parks could survive a few model planes. If you’re fortunate enough to have representation in the United States Congress, maybe you’ll take pity on Yours Truly and consider sending a note on our behalf.