The pandemic heightened our appreciation of the outdoors - ah, safer air! - but that’s hardly a new concept. In Richmond, an exhibition at the Valentine explores the design, use and evolution of the city’s natural spaces over nearly two centuries. “Breathing Places: Parks & Recreation in Richmond” takes its name from an 1851 recommendation by the city’s Committee on Public Squares, which suggested “securing breathing places” in or near the city. In that era, residential and commercial growth spurred the commitment, but not everyone benefited equally. Sound familiar? As such considerations still inform today’s conversations about land use and equity, “Breathing Places” gives local outdoor history some appropriate air time.
In the air