Urban Parks: History

urban parks
Figure 1--Here we see a European park in the 1920s after World War I. We think it may be a German park, but hsave not yet been able to identify it.

Urban parks did not first appear in the 19th century, but they are largely a 19th century phenomenon. There were some precents. European nobility had estates with beautifully manicured grounds. There were also village greens. Urban planners were concerned with the honrendous conditions in the expanding urban centers in Europe and America. We are not sure about the early development of urban parks in Europe. Quite a fe of the European parks are very famous, such as Hyde Park, Luxembourg Gardens, Tivoli, and many others. Parks began to ppear in Anerica during the second half of the 19th century. The 1863 draft riots in America had a significant impact on city officials. Central Park had a major impact on American thinking. Many decided that the urban poor needed to be provided green space for outings. The general approach for developing American parks was to create parks on the outskirts of the city. Growing up in Washington, D.C., I remember Glen Echo. New Yorkers had Coney Island. Gradually cities expanded and enveloped many of these parks. Some were used for specialised purposes like zoos and museums. Cities began building neigborhood parks to provide green spaces and recreational areas within walking distances of urban parks. With the move to the suburbs, municipalities created municipal parks. The rules associated with using the parks as well as the expense at getting there mean that the parks were more used by the middle-class and affluent. They were often show places for the latest fashion.


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Created: 1:22 AM 4/10/2009
Last updated: 1:23 AM 4/10/2009