Interesting reading: ‘Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities’

Public parks are not a frill, but essential to the idea of community and, even more. In his book ‘Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities’, planner Alexander Garvin explains how parks came to be, how they are quite literally the common ground our culture seeks, and how the design of public parks can affect urban well-being.

A good public park is at the heart of a democratic, sustainable society
As cities grow exponentially or shrink dramatically, the quality of the public realm will become increasingly significant to social well-being in the 21st century according to architectural critic, Paul Goldberger. More than ever before, public parks have the potential to humanize our existence in the contemporary urban world. Alex Garvin tries to open our eyes to what it takes to create great parks by elaborating on their design, finance, and management and also by explaing how we should behave in them. Anyone who loves cities will applaud the lessons of this heroic book, that a good public park is at the heart of a democratic, sustainable society. (Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies, London School of Economics)

Parks play an important role in the creation of livable urban environments
Garvin elevates the role that the public park plays in the creation of livable urban environments, both from a historical and a contemporary perspective. He examines the public park thematically by addressing everything from property acquisition to stewardship to make the claim that these spaces are anything but garnishes in the bigger picture of what constitutes a successful community. A blend of original old and new photographs enhance and complement the themes, which are woven together with a well-orchestrated flow of regional examples of public parks from across time and space. What results is a well-composed, authoritative work on public parks with a timely message, suggesting that parks stand out as indispensable, exemplary forms of public investment in the urban fabric. Garvin notes that unlike other investments in urban infrastructure such as roads and bridges, parks often age well and increase in value as they grow and change over the years.

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