A Bird's Eye View: When Lively Parks meet the Rules
( display item 7)
Setup: 06-Jun-2012 by Belinda Cole 
Dufferin Grove Park is a 14-acre neighbourhood-run urban park in Toronto. http://dufferinpark.ca/home/wiki/wiki.php
Here is CELOS's list of invisible laws and other rules park friends and local parks staff have run up against in their tireless efforts to enliven the park - by offering inexpensive, tasty food, drop-in sports and activities, and campfires, to name just a few.
The rule signs park users see posted in the park - mostly rules of behaviour - are only the barest tip of the "rules" iceberg.
The real rules - that 1) shape how we can enjoy our parks, and 2) set the parameters of "public participation" about the rules, and how our public monies are spent - are not posted anywhere.
Nor is there any practical way for most citizens directly affected by them to know what they are.
All of this rule-making comes from the best of intentions. But, the actual effects of the resulting web of idea-based rules and their regulatory systems are mostly unexamined in the local neighbourhood spaces they govern. And meaningful public discussion and debate - rooted in people's experience of what works in their local spaces - is lost and dissipated in each successive wave of "public discussion" and "public participation" on new parks plans and "visions" structured and managed by parks administrators and other rule-makers.