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Central Park, surrounded by the skyscrapers of New York City.
A footpath in Chicago's Portage Park.
The Meadow of Atlanta's Piedmont Park.

An urban park, is also known as a municipal park (North America) or a public park or open space (United Kingdom), is a park in cities and other incorporated places to offer recreation and green space to residents of and visitors to the municipality. The design, operation and maintenance is usually done by government, typically on the local level, but may occasionally be contracted out to a private sector company.

Common features of municipal parks include playgrounds, hiking, running and fitness trails or paths, bridle paths, sports field and courts, public restrooms, boat ramps and/or picnic facilities, depending on the budget and natural features available.

Contents

History

In The Politics of Park Design: A History of Urban Parks in America, (Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press, 1982), Professor Galen Cranz identifies four phases of park design in the U.S. In the late 19th century, large tracts of land on the outskirts of cities were purchased by city governments to create "pleasure grounds": semi-open, charmingly landscaped areas whose primary purpose was to allow city residents, especially the workers, to relax in nature. As time passed and the urban area grew around the parks, land in these parks was used for other purposes, such as zoos, golf courses and museums. These parks continue to draw visitors from around the region and are considered regional parks, because they require a higher level of management than smaller local parks. According to the Trust for Public Land, the three most visited municipal parks in the United States are Central Park in New York, Lincoln Park in Chicago, and Mission Bay Park in San Diego, respectively.[1] Other famous urban parks include Monsanto Forest Park (the largest in Europe) in Lisbon, Portugal, Richmond Park in London, UK and Stanley Park in Vancouver, Canada.

In the early 1900s, according to Cranz, U.S. cities built neighborhood parks with swimming pools, playgrounds and civic buildings, with the intention of Americanizing the immigrant residents. In the 1950s, when money became available after World War II, new parks continued to focus on both outdoor and indoor recreation with services, such as sports leagues using their ball fields and gymnasia. These smaller parks were built in residential neighborhoods, and tried to serve all residents with programs for seniors, adults, teens and children. Green space was of secondary importance.

As urban land prices climbed, new urban parks in the 1960s and after have been mainly pocket parks. These small parks provide greenery, a place to sit outdoors, and often a playground for children.

All four types of park continue to exist in urban areas. Because of the large amount of open space and natural habitat in the former pleasure grounds, they now serve as important wildlife refuges, and often provide the only opportunity for urban residents to hike or picnic in a semi-wild area. However, these parks can be targeted by city managers or politicians as sources of free land for other uses. Partly for this reason, some of these large parks have "friends of X park" advisory boards that help protect and maintain their semi-wild nature.



Ibirapuera Park decorated for Christmas 2007, in São Paulo, Brazil.
Millennium Park Beach on the banks of the Grand River in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
A view of West Los Angeles and the Hollywood Sign from Griffith Park.

Urban Parks by Size

City Park Size (acres)
Mumbai, India Sanjay Gandhi National Park 25700
El Paso, Texas, USA Franklin Mountains State Park 24247
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada North Saskatchewan River valley parks system 18286[2]
Phoenix, Arizona, USA South Mountain Park 16283
Roanoke, Virginia, USA Carvins Cove Natural Reserve 12700
Philadelphia, PA, USA Fairmount Park 9200[3]
Houston, Texas, USA George Bush Park 7800
Portland, Oregon, USA Forest Park 5100
Memphis, TN, USA Shelby Farms 4500
San Diego, CA, USA Mission Trails Park 4323
Los Angeles, CA, USA Griffith Park 4210
Chico, CA, USA Bidwell Park 3670
New York (The Bronx), NY USA Pelham Bay Park 2766
Lisbon, Portugal Monsanto Forest Park 2471[4]
London, UK Richmond Park 2360
Birmingham, UK Sutton Park 2224
Paris, France Bois de Boulogne 2090
Belgrade, Serbia Ada Ciganlija 1976
Dublin, Ireland Phoenix Park 1760
Washington, DC Rock Creek Park 1754
Grand Rapids, MI, USA Millennium Park 1500
Cincinnati, OH, USA Mt. Airy Forest 1470
Munich, Germany Englischer Garten 1400
New Orleans, LA, USA New Orleans City Park 1300
Saint Louis, MO, USA Forest Park 1293
New York (Queens), NY, USA Flushing Meadows – Corona Park 1255
Chicago, IL USA Lincoln Park 1203
San Diego, CA, USA Balboa Park 1200
London, UK Bushy Park 1099
San Francisco, CA, USA Golden Gate Park 1017
Vancouver, BC, CA Stanley Park 1000.5
Detroit, MI, USA Belle Isle Park 982
New York City, NY, USA Central Park 843
Tacoma, WA, USA Point Defiance Park 702
London, England Hyde Park 625
Montreal, Quebec, CA Parc du Mont Royal 529
Worcester, MA, USA Green Hill Park 480

See also

References

  1. ^ "America's Most Visited City Parks". http://www.tpl.org/content_documents/citypark_facts/ccpe_Most_Visited_Parks_09.pdf. Retrieved 2009-12-13. 
  2. ^ http://www.edmonton.ca/business/river-valley.aspx
  3. ^ www.fairmountpark.org/AboutFairmountPark.asp
  4. ^ http://www.fedenatur.org/docs/docs/417.pdf

Pure Michigan, Michigan's Official Travel and Tourism Site

External links

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