[caption id="attachment_13508" align="alignleft" width="188" caption="Frederick Law Olmsted"][/caption]
Outdoor movies—we all love them. And Patterson Park is the perfect place to see Olmsted and America's Urban Parks, a documentary about seminal park and green space designer Frederick Law Olmsted. If the name is familiar and you can't quite place it, he's the guy who designed Central Park in New York and, closer to home, the four Mount Vernon Place parks.
"It's important to look back at his philosophy of park building and green space," Rebecca Messner, the filmmaker (and assistant editor at Urbanite), says. "He was planning for the future. It was not about immediate gratification, but how will it affect the city in 150 years," she says.
Messner began work on the PBS documentary through Red Fields to Green Fields, an organization (founded by her father Mike Messner) that is devoted to "convincing the federal government to give money to turn the glut of buildings that no longer serve their purpose to parks and green space," as Messner puts it. "Parks benefit cities economically," she adds.
She believes that Olmsted's work has particular relevance for Baltimore, plagued as the city is by vacant houses (the city estimates that there are 16,000 vacant properties in Baltimore).
Watching Olmsted and America's Urban Parks is a chance to prove Olmsted right and demonstrate the vibrancy of our green spaces. The Sunday, May 20, screening at the Pagoda is sponsored by Baltimore City's Department of Recreation and Parks, the Friends of Maryland's Olmsted Parks and Landscapes, and the Friends of Patterson Park. It's free and it starts at 8:00 p.m.