Chiang Mai is having municipal elections on 3rd November 2013 and the first candidate has declared her candidature.
A perennial issue in local government is that of open space and parkland and considering the potential for improving the life of the city, not to mention the bank accounts of people with influence a public discussion of the issues would be welcome. So where better than to start with look at the origin of the word “park”?
From the Online Etymology Dictionary:
mid-13c., “enclosed preserve for beasts of the chase,” from Old French parc “enclosed wood or heath land used as a game preserve” (12c.), probably ultimately from West Germanic *parruk “enclosed tract of land” (cf. Old English pearruc, root of paddock (n.2), Old High German pfarrih “fencing about, enclosure,” German pferch “fold for sheep,” Dutch park).Internal evidence suggests the West Germanic word is pre-4c. and originally meant the fencing, not the place enclosed. Found also in Medieval Latin as parricus “enclosure, park” (8c.), which likely is the direct source of the Old French word, as well as Italian parco, Spanish parque, etc. Some claim the Medieval Latin word as the source of the West Germanic, but the reverse seems more likely. Some later senses in English represent later borrowings from French. OED discounts notion of a Celtic origin. Welsh parc, Gaelic pairc are from English.Meaning “enclosed lot in or near a town, for public recreation” is first attested 1660s, originally in reference to London; the sense evolution is via royal parks in the original, hunting sense being overrun by the growth of London and being opened to the public. Applied to sporting fields in American English from 1867.
Here in Chiang Mai:
Vast areas of green give the lie to the claim that Chiang Mai lacks parks and open space as this annotated Google Earth image shows government bureaucracies keep to themselves playing fields and spacious residential areas in garden settings. Unlike London the kingly government officers have not relinquished their domains to the people of our growing city and our elected officials turn a blind eye to the peoples’ need.
(For details of the culprits click on the Google Earth image)