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Balboa Park Centennial Lecture Series Concludes With Focus On Future

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Balboa Park Centennial Lecture Series Concludes With Focus On Future
Balboa Park Centennial Lecture Series Concludes With Focus On Future
Balboa Park Centennial Lecture Series Concludes With Focus On The Future GUESTS:Bruce Coons, executive director, Save Our Heritage Organization Charles Birnbaum, president and CEO, The Cultural Landscape Foundation

This is KPBS Midday Edition armoring Kevin up [ Indiscernible ] in Balboa Park is winding down Park is gearing up for the maker fair at the national toward innovation and technology opening early next month but on the whole there's a series of events that are smart to the 100 anniversary of the Panama County exposition have left some people disappointed. Comes of the Sabre heritage organization is among the critics. He was Risley quoted in an article in the San Diego Union Tribune clung the Centennial aesthetic. Bruce constructed now Capri's book into program. Good afternoon, Marine. And when the popular Park salvation committee was disbanded we all knew this would not be the big event originally planned. Considering that, you still disappointed with what you have seen this year? I have to say yes. I mean I was asked about it by Jeff McDonald and what I've said was that was kind of at the end of a long conversation but it is still true. We are disappointed that we think it was pretty pathetic. There's a number of events that were happening anyhow that they have tried to rebrand for the Centennial but really nothing that is related directly to the Centennial celebration Balboa Park history Centennial of the exposition or anything. How do you think the city could have salvaged the debacle of the celebration committee failure? Will really started a long time before that. It's indicative of lack of vision and leadership that we have with our elected officials particular the mayor's office. Had early meetings we talked about having the people were really enthusiastic about having a whole mother Expo dedicated to high technology and the civic RAM and Marine technology with the creditors of blockbuster events at the existing museums that were held in one place and they said well, we can't really do that were going into recession and of course we said what he think was going on in 1950 team tonight and 35 but so that was pooh-poohed and then they hired some of the mayor's ex-staffers which have proven themselves to not be especially competent and other elbow Park issues and so we didn't have much confidence from then on, but there were still many people many museums that got together and had a lot of ideas how to salvage it. They still weren't listened to. Many museums have done it on defense and try to do what they can. We have four expeditions over 2000 artifacts from both expeditions are shows 45 locations, many reproductions of artifacts and so we've been doing what we can but if it was a citywide event and it's a shame that we end up not coming together and doing something for the 250 anniversary of the oldest town on the Pacific coast which is coming up on the 20. Guess, and that's what I wanted to ask you before we and our conversation. Supermontage understood in this article in the QT you are concerned that perhaps the poor planning that you say is shown in the Balboa Park Centennial may indeed stop the cities ability to plan for this upcoming 250th anniversary in 2019. Are you concerned about what the city may be able to do for the anniversary? Well IM unless -- you don't Maureen Iker appear in San Diego is one of them most beautiful cities in the world but it's degenerating into a place of cheap and shoddy construction and planning. We haven't had a vision for San Diego since the Marston Appleyard publication of temporary paradise. And really need to have somebody that pulls together leadership and creates a event that we come be part of. Los Angeles is younger than us and they have an event that's every year [ Indiscernible ] and we're the oldest university on the Pacific close of the United States and what's happening Balboa Park really leaves the worried about what we're going to do for that and what should be a citywide celebration celebrating everything that is great about San Diego and what we have become. There just doesn't seem to be a vision before we can become.'s [ Indiscernible ] Russo want to thank you for joining us. We have heard one man's opinion is current of Sabre heritage organization. Thinks for joining us. Enqueue. And if you would like to give us your opinion can always go online atEnqueue. And if you would like to give us your opinion can always go online@KPBS.org and we be happy to hear from you. Right now if the Centennial celebration has the nothing else it's brought more people to Balboa Park and that is a pretty enjoyable experience in and of itself. After this year Centennial ends the question becomes how will the park fell up in the next 100 years? How will its landscape change and evolve? And how will San Diego maintain this landmark which even now needs millions of dollars in deferred maintenance? The unique qualities of Balboa Park and its future as a cultural landmark be the topics tonight of the national expert in urban landscaping and cultural parks speaking at the Museum of photographic arts. Charles burned them as president and CEO of the cultural landscape foundation in Washington DC. Charles will come to the program. Great to be here Marine. What is a cultural landscape? Cultural and skip is any landscape that has been affected by humankind. Therefore types of cultural landscapes there are designed landscape that person and his plan for Babar Park there are particular landscapes such as the working a cultural landscapes that are close to the city. There are historic sites like the exposition grounds which are national historic landmark and the other ethnographic limericks [ Indiscernible ] continuum cultures. Taken together all those things are cultural landscape. Cultural and skeptical what is a condition due to promote the importance of the kind of public talking about when we talk about the landscape of the ballpark to Mac What we try to do with the conditions.. Make visible and still value indication public. To all of this online. We do without their weekend in different communities in the case of double parker think that many people think the exposition grounds are it in the exposition grounds of course on international definition people come here the silhouette as iconic as I full Tower in Paris but there's much more than the roast and parsley and I will talk about that site. The questionable ask everyone is the park the roast or the parsley? In the case of Balboa Park you are dealing with an amazing visionary in the case of Marston who hung his plan in his the promised her window when he brought persons from the East Coast and overtime and think the park has become twofold it's about cultural institutions and is about the automobile and it's time now for larger scale planning and Bruce use the word vision think it's time once again to come up with assured value system that looks at the park and all of its natural cultural scenic resources through the lens of the dramatic climate change that's happening here and how we look at that through a system that values everything holistically. Charles is probably Artie know those conversations have begun in earnest here in San Diego but first I want to get your impression of Balboa Park. Were defeated stance among the nations cultural parks? Steam act applicable things. If you go to Wikipedia and you go to Balboa Park pitch which comes up first because Wikipedia is very good at that, it says natural historic landmark does need in 1937. Affect only the exposition grounds were designated on. The park itself per your question, I would say there are two things here. There is no medicinal park of the skill of Balboa Park in America that has the bigness and drama of its scenery. It's like going to national Park like holding Kate national Park in San Francisco and the fact that was laid out by a man who had been trained with Homestead and Fox and brought that picturesque audiology here that is part of that story. People forget that sounded it percent park users go for passive enjoyment and I think those qualities are really what is at risk right now because they are quiet and they don't often have the same consistency in the same robust budgets for PR and marketing that might bring someone to a cultural institution preferred last point OCIO is if you go to a Google map whenever I travel you must at all the hotspots are the cultural institutions the golf course in the pros garden in the Rose Garden I think on the because you can rent as a vehicle for events. Know when you look at public parks landscape is it a wealth ought out landscape in your opinion? Is easy from the? Well I think when you say was it will put off it was absolutely well thought up by Samuel Parsons. It was then reinforced by Mr. Noland when he was brought in by Mr. Marston to think at the end of the day that vision of putting the park first shifted in 1960 when the plan was [ Indiscernible ] Harlan Bartholomew assuming [ Indiscernible ] and medicine there has been it to medic shift ever since then and the park and its picturesque quality have not fared as well and it is also been more than 25 years since the last master-planned so if anything else it's time for tuna. Right, I think a lot of the discussion that you bring up has gone between people who want to see the park more of a quiet pristine part, a placer people can go and have that kind of nature experience within the city. But on the other hand, other people want to see people be able to have access to the park, access means in a lot of cases automobile traffic circles of how to see the balance of the two? Will I have been committed to San Diego for 30 years and all one has to do is look at the window to see the number of cranes to see much that city is changing. Changing like a lot of other American cities. Is becoming less reliant on automobiles in town. Look at the intent of him protecting people want to get up and want drugs they want to bike to whatever contact with nature. I think you have all these things and way that holistically understand the values of the park circle after member that since the time this earlier plans them in the 80s that California is a different place. First woman have cultural landscape designations that was a movement of that into thousand and one here that was forwarded. We do have environmental issues going on and we also have large-scale park making ambition to heal the kinds of funds that we have seen in a park like Balboa Park to knit it back together with commute tenuous communities within larger population that serves in the region and also as an international destination. Want to pick out another thing he said about the way the park needs to evolve. You know we talk a lot about in San Diego about the contributions of the famous horticulturists [ Indiscernible ] and well-known for planting trees in Balboa Park that can beginnings but now the cities having to let some of those trees die because of the ongoing drought. Do you have any ideas or anything that you can call from other places about help elbow Park will have to change to become more water wise? Was begin sessions. When I look at apartment of our apartment because young people that go there always in search of Alice in Wonderland also as portals or connection to the past. Was woman who was a maverick. Cushion with the city a successful businesswoman I wish it was running for elected office today and what she do? She negotiated with the park she provided hundreds of trees over time in Essex that a lot of these trees are dying because they are not viewed as cultural resources in the same way that historic building is. Had we honor King sessions? We put a statue of her in the park. Never will we should be honoring her is large-scale and visions treeplanting programs are grew out of a conscious plan that is developed circle those Trent -- tree such as five but the [ Indiscernible ] that is a century-year-old that is Calvinistic champion there is a witness tree and American battlefield it has a story to tell. And to think the park is replete in those kinds of narratives but they have been invisible because they haven't been interpreted there below the radar and I think it's time to make those cultural their lives visible to look at the four mosaic of the park today to inspire future generations. This may not be entirely fair question to ask but I'm going to ask anyway and that is you know another big question about bubble bubble part that San Diego is true with how to maintain a? How to for the management in a? [ Indiscernible ] estimates there is least $309 in deferred maintenance in Balboa Park so how do other cities managed to fund the maintenance of the park's? While I'm sure if you haven't had [ Indiscernible ] under sharia you I encourage you to so. Think about the models above example brochures a city that is the economically off that they cut management of parks from the state budget. Exceeds me the municipal budget. Still funding this apartment of the parks and after going to Buffalo Hunt said parcel there some of the best maintain parks in the country. Public-private partnerships as the keep public-private partnerships recover -- require concrete foundations for moving forward. I do think we have seen over the last 25 years in New York and Philadelphia and Pittsburgh Rochester there's a long list, there are many examples of San Diego and can look to. I think the opportunity is here and the romance with the ballpark never ended the urine of bringing people back. People are still coming soon great like a. I think the challenge here in San Diego like many cities it is also analyzed. Ever has their own agenda. The tree huggers, whoever they are at the reality is at the end of the day there has to be shared principles bring everyone together through public private partnership that is based on sympathetic vision looking back is a way to inform hatchway forward. So finally Charles is a understand your saying is the vision of the park is evolved over time and earlier the 20th century we had -- a late 20th-century we had a park that sort of geared toward a motorized vision of the way people would visit the park and interact with it. And what you are saying now is that we are evolving as a city and maybe even as a country to looking at the space is a very different way. Think the time is come that we have to put landscape purse. Example is if you look at the recent discussions running the Obama presidential library. Clumpy University and say let's put in central park and take 17 acres. Would never happen in New York City today because the park is so beloved and yet were looking at taking to Homestead parks Russian tuner Jackson Park in Chicago for 23 acres for an Obama library. Is the only part of homesteads of southern New York State and that would never happen in places where parks are blood. I think that in the last year the people of an happy to put things for many years in Balboa Park and a think now we've got a sort of turn that around and put the park first coast especially as the publishing grows in the city open space is more than ever critically important. Want to let everyone know that Charles Campbell be speaking tonight at the Museum of credit photographic arts and bubble part 6 PM. Charles Vincent March. Thanks, Maureen Circus

Preserving Balboa Park for future generations is the subject of a lecture hosted by the San Diego History Center Thursday.

Charles Birnbaum, president and CEO of the Cultural Landscape Foundation based in Washington, D.C., will talk about how cultural landscapes, like Balboa Park, evolve over time. He will also explain what can be done to preserve them in a way that best serves the communities that use them.

This is the 11th and final lecture in the series. It is part of the larger ongoing centennial celebration that kicked off with December Nights last year.

The celebration has been criticized for not being grand enough, especially in light of how much money has been spent.

Bruce Coons, executive director of Save Our Heritage Organization, echoed criticisms of residents in a San Diego Union-Tribune article, calling the city's efforts "pathetic."

Coons and Birnbaum discuss managing the park's future Thursday on Midday Edition.

The lecture starts Thursday at 6 p.m. at the San Diego History Center on 1649 El Prado in San Diego.