How Cities Use Parks for Smart Growth

City Parks Forum Briefing Papers 10

By Kathy Blaha



Parks are commonly thought of as the venue for "fun and games," but that is only one role they play in a metropolitan environment. Urban parks, which broadly include parkland, plazas, landscaped boulevards, waterfront promenades, and public gardens, significantly define the layout, real estate value, traffic flow, public events, and the civic culture of our communities. With open spaces, our cities and neighborhoods take on structure, beauty, breathing room, and value.

Public understanding of the pivotal role that parks play in enhancing the quality of life in our cities is growing, along with an understanding of the links between the quality of city parks and sprawling growth on the fringe of cities. City parks are an important element of smart growth that addresses both the public's need for greenspace and the role of greenspace in mitigating higher development density. The smart growth concerns of the public create opportunities for both public agencies and private foundations to leverage support for smart growth, "by making and "re-making" city parks that both strengthen urban cores and protect the fringe.


Page Count
Date Published
June 1, 2005
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About the Author

Kathy Blaha