The Trust for Public Land Park Score index ranked the “City of Lakes” Minneapolis, Minnesota as the #1 Park System in the Nation, with New York, NY coming in second. The city’s park system scored high in every category, which includes the size of the parks, the amount of money spent on them, and their distribution. There are 6,743 acres of parkland within the city limits, and 94% of the residents are within a 10-minute (or half-mile) walk to a park.
Parks have long been the optimal place of salvage that helped cure health disparities of industrial New York by providing green public spaces to all citizens. That importance continues to remain, as parkland is still the prime area of activity attracting businesses and development by boosting property values. So, what is the importance of providing better urban planning opportunities and preserving the existing park spaces? There are numerous reasons, but principally urban parks help promote:
- Community Revitalization;
- Economic Development;
- Safer Neighborhoods;
- Comprehensive Community Engagement;
- Green Infrastructure;
- Youth Education;
- Public Health;
- Arts and Culture;
- Tourism; and
- Smart Growth.
Historically, architects and urban planners have recognized green space as the focal element of cities, such as in Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities and Le Courbusier’s Contemporary City for 3 million inhabitants. However, numerous cities are currently dealing with density issues; and with the projected population increase, urban places are being populated by high-rise apartment buildings. Retaining the existing parkland and ensuring equal distribution to green spaces might become a challenge.
How can cities better ensure green space preservation amongst new development as many cities struggle to cope with density issues?
Credits: Photographs by Jasna Hadzic. Data linked to sources.