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Rhine and Reason

The city planning of Cologne has been such a great study for me. I grew up in a town just south of Nashville, so I’m familiar with the idea of riverfront parks. While Knoxville residents can interact with the river, neither example compares to the attention and scope of work that can be found at the riverside parks that I visited near the Rhine.

The design decisions I love about this area aren’t restricted to what the city just added, but how they use the space to encourage community interaction. On Sunday there was a flea market that encouraged residents to walk alongside the river and puruse local goods. One of my most fond memories is when several other students and I went to a local grocery to get light snacks and food, then went to a small sculpture area to sit and reflect on the day’s activities. This area had a small lazy-river-like attraction that was reflective of the Rhine, showing it’s fertility not only for the landscape, but for the community.

There were many shops, restaurants and bars that ran alongside the river, creating great views of the people and places that could be seen and experienced. This play with the natural seems to be ingrained in the local culture. There were several times that we heard about one side of the Rhine being better than the other, relating to the order in which they were established. It was a playful identity that the community has seemed to encourage, along with other symbols like the regional beer, and several soccer players.