Who Cleans the Park?: Public Work and Urban Governance in New York City: John Krinsky
Where: New York Public Library—Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library
476 Fifth Ave. (42nd St. Entrance)
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America’s public parks are in a golden age. Millions of dollars—both public and private—fund urban jewels like Manhattan’s Central Park. Keeping the polish on landmark parks and in neighborhood playgrounds alike means that the trash must be picked up, benches painted, equipment tested, and leaves raked. Bringing this often-invisible work into view, however, raises profound questions for citizens of cities.
In Who Cleans the Park? John Krinsky and Maud Simonet argue that the work of maintaining parks has intersected with broader trends in welfare reform, civic engagement, criminal justice, and the rise of public-private partnerships. Welfare-to-work trainees, volunteers, unionized city workers (sometimes working outside their official job descriptions), staff of nonprofit park “conservancies,” and people sentenced to community service are just a few of the groups who routinely maintain parks. With public services no longer being provided primarily by public workers, Krinsky and Simonet argue, the nature of public work must be reevaluated.
Based on four years of fieldwork in New York City, Who Cleans the Park? looks at the transformation of public parks from the ground up. The book asks difficult questions about who benefits from public work, ultimately forcing us to think anew about the way we govern ourselves, with implications well beyond the five boroughs.Buy tickets/get more info now