June 17 2013

City of Parks: The Inherent Importance of Park Land Preservation and Planning

The Trust for Public Land Park Score index ranked the “City of Lakes” Minneapolis, Minnesota as the #1 Park System in the Nation, with New York, NY coming in second. The city’s park system scored high in every category, which includes the size of the parks, the amount of money spent on them, and their distribution. There are 6,743 acres of parkland within the city limits, and 94% of the residents are within a 10-minute (or half-mile) walk to a park.

Minneapolis, Minnesota Parkway

Parks have long been the optimal place of salvage that helped cure health disparities of industrial New York by providing green public spaces to all citizens. That importance continues to remain, as parkland is still the prime area of activity attracting businesses and development by boosting property values. So, what is the importance of providing better urban planning opportunities and preserving the existing park spaces? There are numerous reasons, but principally urban parks help promote:

  • Community Revitalization;
  • Economic Development;
  • Safer Neighborhoods;
  • Comprehensive Community Engagement;
  • Green Infrastructure;
  • Youth Education;
  • Public Health;
  • Arts and Culture;
  • Tourism; and
  • Smart Growth.

Park overlooking City

Historically, architects and urban planners have recognized green space as the focal element of cities, such as in Ebenezer Howard’s Garden Cities and Le Courbusier’s Contemporary City for 3 million inhabitants. However, numerous cities are currently dealing with density issues; and with the projected population increase, urban places are being populated by high-rise apartment buildings. Retaining the existing parkland and ensuring equal distribution to green spaces might become a challenge.

How can cities better ensure green space preservation amongst new development as many cities struggle to cope with density issues?

Credits: Photographs by Jasna Hadzic. Data linked to sources.

Jasna Hadzic

Born and raised in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but having spent most of her adult life in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.; Jasna Hadzic has been greatly influenced by both cultures, most specifically in terms of architecture, planning, and design. The transition of living in a small European pedestrian-oriented city to a large and vehicle-oriented American city greatly influenced her interest in the field of planning. She came to appreciate the vibrant, culturally diverse and faster-pace of life, while also looking toward her native city as a paradigm of sustainable living with traditional architecture, multi-modal transportation systems, and pedestrian-friendly spaces and streets. A recent Master’s graduate in Community and Regional Planning and G.I.S from Iowa State University, Jasna’s Thesis focused on the analysis of the built environment and demographic factors that influence physical activity, while examining street connectivity and infrastructure. In addition, Jasna holds a B.E.D. in Environmental Design, with a minor in Urban Studies, from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities. Her most recent work experience as a Planning Research Assistant at the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, as well as volunteer work with the Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity has exposed her to new city projects, as well as community engagement. Her career goal is to not only work directly on sustainable urban design projects, but to also ensure equitable and sustainable planning practices.

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This entry was posted on Monday, June 17th, 2013 at 9:45 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Environment, History/Preservation, Landscape Architecture. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


One Response to “City of Parks: The Inherent Importance of Park Land Preservation and Planning”

  1. Farewell From Jasna Hadzic and Minneapolis, Minnesota | The GRID | Global Site Plans Says:

    […] design in Minneapolis, Minnesota through posts dealing with Creative CityMaking, Urban Farming, City Parks, Sustainable Transportation, and many more. As a result, I have enjoyed the process of creative […]

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