I’m assuming we’re supposed to compare this approach to the freer alternatives such as community gardens and city parks. Ignoring for a moment the fact that these gardens are also regulated by serious restrictions on what one can and can’t do, it still puzzles me that the “walled garden” is presented as an obviously undesirable structure.
Aren’t the benefits of a closed, carefully managed garden clearly visible? The experience is controlled, so it tells a story – one which may not emerge from a democratic, anything-goes process or do you think this sort of slow and deliberate story would emerge in a busy American city in the year 2010? Charging for admission means that the place can be maintained, improved, and marketed. There are downsides to this, of course — maybe the management makes boneheaded decisions now and then. Maybe you think that vine maple would look better a little to the left — maybe you’re even right.
A walled garden is great as long as the gardener is an enlightened genius. I can tell you that when operators tried to make walled internets for their handsets, the result was an atrocity.
It’s understandable why people recoil at the thought of a walled garden. But they shouldn’t. If it’s no good you can go somewhere else.