Synopses & Reviews
For years American urban parks fell into decay due to disinvestment, but as cities began to reboundandmdash;and evidence of the economic, cultural, and health benefits of parks grewandmdash; investment in urban parks swelled. The U.S. Conference of Mayors recently cited meeting the growing demand for parks and open space as one of the biggest challenges for urban leaders today. It is now widely agreed that the U.S. needs an ambitious and creative plan to increase urban parklands.
Urban Green explores new and innovative ways for andldquo;built outandrdquo; cities to add much-needed parks. Peter Harnik first explores the question of why urban parkland is needed and then looks at ways to determine how much is possible and where park investment should go. When presenting the ideas and examples for parkland, he also recommends political practices that help create parks.
The book offers many practical solutions, from reusing the land under defunct factories to sharing schoolyards, from building trails on abandoned tracks to planting community gardens, from decking parks over highways to allowing more activities in cemeteries, from eliminating parking lots to uncovering buried streams, and more. No strategy alone is perfect, and each has its own set of realities. But collectively they suggest a path toward making modern cities more beautiful, more sociable, more fun, more ecologically sound, and more successful.
andquot;Urban Green is a testament to the progress of the livable communities movement. While others cringe at urban eyesoresandmdash;underutilized parking lots, vacant commercial areas, and abandoned rail linesandmdash;Harnik sees new green spaces for residents to stroll, garden, play, socialize, and enjoy their natural heritage. Best of all, he offers practical advice on politics and funding, providing community leaders with tools for turning their vision into reality.andquot;
andquot;Peter Harnik andhellip;reveals how the push to preserve and promote our nationand#39;s urban parks is one of the most exciting frontiers in urban planning, dramatically changing the way we think about what is possible in a 21st-century city.andquot;
andquot;Specific, succinct, well-written, full of innovative ideas from all overandmdash;Peter Harnikand#39;s Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities is all one could ask of a practical planning book.andquot;
andquot;With this timely and valuable book, Harnik has done a great service. Public-sector officials, planners, and designers will find it useful, but so will community activists, neighborhood groups, and anybody else who uses an urban park. Which, in a densely populated city, is just about everyone.andquot;
andquot;Harnik conveys in pragmatic, no-nonsense terms what it takes to make the outdoor rooms of a city serve the true needs of their users. Fundamental questions are asked about which kinds of parks to build, how much to build, for whom to build, and where the parks should go. The answers imply new or renewed solutions and new ways of defining the very term parks.andquot;
andquot;Urban Green is part reference manual, part guidebook and part inspiration. It provides an unprecedented look at the re-greening of urban America. From rail trails to rooftops to landfills, Peter Harnik shows us how to find and fund green spaces for the next century.andquot;
Urban Green explores new and innovative ways for and#147;built outand#8221; cities to add much-needed parkland. After first exploring the question of why urban parks are needed, Peter Harnik looks at how much parkland is truly possible and where specific investment can go.
Among the bookand#8217;s many examples and practical solutions are reusing the land from defunct factories to sharing schoolyards, from decking parks over highways to allowing more activities in cemeteries, from eliminating parking lots to uncovering buried streams, and more. While no strategy alone is perfect, and each has its own set of challenges, collectively they suggest a path toward making cities more beautiful, sociable, fun, ecologically sound, and successful.
About the Author
Peter Harnik is director of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land and author of Inside City Parks, a book about the park and recreation systems of the 25 largest U.S. cities. In 2003, his research resulted in The Excellent City Park System: What Makes it Great and How to Get There. Previous to that, he was co-founder of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy.
Table of Contents
PART I. Of Cities and Parks
Chapter 1. How Much Parkland Should a City Have?
Chapter 2. The Different Kinds of Parks and Their Uses
-Box 2.1 What People do in Parks
Chapter 3. Is it Acres, Facilities or Distance?
-Box 3.1 How Far to a Park?: 14 Scenarios
Chapter 4. Parks and Their Competition
Chapter 5. Neighborhoods Are Not All Created Equal
Chapter 6. It's Not How Much but Who and Why?
Chapter 7. A Process Rather than a Standard
Chapter 8. Stop, Look and Listen
Chapter 9. Analyze and Prioritize
Chapter 10. Money and Time
PART II. Finding Park Space in the City
Chapter 11. Buying it
Chapter 12. Utilizing Urban Redevelopment
Chapter 13. Community Gardens
Chapter 14. Old Landfills
Chapter 15. Wetlands and Stormwater Storage Ponds
Chapter 16. Rail-Trails
Chapter 17. Rooftops
Chapter 18. Sharing Schoolyards
Chapter 19. Covering Reservoirs
Chapter 20. River and Stream Corridors
Chapter 21. Cemeteries
Chapter 22. Boulevards and Parkways
Chapter 23. Decking Highways
Chapter 24. Closing Streets and Roads
Chapter 25. Removing Parking
Chapter 26. Increasing Time
Appendix 1. Population Density (Largest Cities)
Appendix 2. Acres of Parkland per 1,000 Persons (Largest Cities)
Appendix 3. Parkland as Percent of City Area (Largest Cities)
Appendix 4. Spending per Resident on Parks and Recreation (Largest Cities)