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Barks and rec: When itâ€™s completed, the dog park nestled inside Chicagoâ€™s Lincoln Yards mega-development could be the toniest pet playground in the nation. With its flashy rendering, the design idea puts a whole new spin on letting a place go to the dogs. â€œMy first visual reaction is: That is a lot of white people with dogs,â€� said the editor of Chicago Architect. The fancy doggo park is actually one of the least divisive features of the project, but it serves as a small marker of a larger disparity: Almost all of Chicagoâ€™s dog parks fall in areas that are majority-white, as shown below.
Back in the day, a dog park wasnâ€™t an amenity one might expect in a neighborhood. Now these off-leash spaces are among the fastest-growing parks in Americaâ€™s cities. But as parks and recreation departments face growing demand for dog parks, often at the expense of other amenities such as playgrounds for kids, it means asking big questions about public space and inclusion that donâ€™t get any smaller when the parcels do. Today on CityLab, Kriston Capps asks: Are Dog Parks Exclusionary?
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