Where are the public gathering places in the Conejo Valley? We don’t have a “downtown” for any of our cities or communities, or public squares at our population centers. I guess we grew too fast with one suburban housing development after another, rather than organically from a central core, outward.
I believe the space that come closest to civic open space, where all ages of people can gather and mix, is the Oaks Mall. However, interactions are not facilitated among different groups, like might happen in civic open space. On the other hand, the food court, children’s play area, and public concert area by the Muvico Theaters do encourage communication among individuals of similar interests.
I also enjoy the Westlake Promenade, with its feel of a European village shopping area. Sitting by the large fountain while eating, is great fun. But, these are not public gathering spaces in the best sense, because the purpose of the spaces are for merchandise and food to be sold, not to promote people interacting with each other.
Then there are the Farmers’ Markets we have throughout the Conejo Valley. At a local one, I can see my neighbors, taste locally grown fruit, and often listen to live music. To me, these markets come closest to public open space, but it is, of course, temporary, for only a few hours one day a week.
I started thinking about public space again (see previous post of 6-6-10, titled “Public Space in the Conejo Valley” at the Conejo Post Archives website ) after reading a letter to the editor in the 9-10-10 Acorn by David Lebowitz.
What are your thoughts on public spaces in our valley? Post modified from previous post of September, 2010.