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Sunday, April 14, 2024 — Houston, TX

Some spaces 'neglected' for a reason

By Robert Duffield     10/8/14 3:48am

Rice’s neglected spaces are only neglected if you take human regard and human presence as the only measures of worth. Certainly sitting on a bench under a tree is pleasant, but if every tree has a bench, none of them is special. The introduction of benches or paving in the open or naturally landscaped spaces destroys the natural aspect of the space that is so essential to making it fundamentally different from the more formally structured spaces on campus. Follow a pattern of adding structure to spaces for convenience, and soon there are no empty spaces left at all, and the campus becomes one big parking lot or formal garden with no clear separation of one space from another.

I do not advocate a prohibition on entering or using the neglected spaces, though. Respect and enjoy the difference these spaces provide. Enter the sacred groves and neglected spots. Have a picnic. Sit on the ground. Lean against a tree. Play a game of midnight football in front of Lovett Hall. When you are done, take all you brought in with you out again.

Robert Duffield, Baker College ‘87

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