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The gardeners fighting to save Virginia Avenue Park in South Capitol Hill from becoming barracks for the Marines have kicked up their advocacy with a nicely-produced video:
Richard Layman made the interesting argument last week that it makes sense to put the barracks there because urban places should be urban, as market forces create higher density. I’m not sure I agree. Densely populated places are immeasurably more valuable when paired with access to permeable ground, not just for sunbathing and playing frisbee, but maintaining some kind of connection to the production of food. It’s possible, even, that if factored into the market, people would be willing to pay what the land is really worth in order to have their own gardens nearby. Wealthy landowners in New York have the money to keep Gramercy Park from becoming another high-rise, and it’s a delightful amenity to have in the middle of Manhattan—but it’s kept under lock and key. Shouldn’t there be some effort to set aside these kinds of oases for the public as density develops around them? Is a closed naval base more deserving of space near a metro stop than a garden open to all?