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Yin & Yang: Density & Parks

Patterson Park, Baltimore, Md.

On Common Ground, a magazine on smart growth of the National Association of Realtors has a great piece (pdf) on urban parks in its current issue. One of the more interesting pieces in the article is how density and parks complement each other. Baltimore’s 155-acre Patterson Park, situated in a neighborhood of tightly-knit row houses is used as an example, with quotes from Chris Ryer of the local Southeast Community Development Corporation:

The park’s Web site proudly proclaims Patterson Park as “the best back yard in Baltimore.” Ryer calls it a “classic example” of the power of parks to help make neighborhoods more valuable — especially where development is dense.

“It’s a little counter-intuitive, but you want green space in a high-density area,” he said. “The green space is what allows the density to happen. Patterson Park is a great example of that because there is nothing denser than southeast Baltimore. It’s street after street of row houses as far as the eye can see.”

That strategy — balancing the yin of green space against the yang of greater density — is a cornerstone of Smart Growth.

Smart Growth encourages compact development as an antidote to sprawl. Preserving green space is part and parcel to that approach. The green space makes the density more palatable and the density makes the green space more desirable.

Likewise, it means that cities with infill projects might consider new parks near those new developments and placing added housing near parks.

2 Responses

  1. It makes a lot of sense. The greater density means more users for the park, the park serves as the green/open space for the densely populated area that doesn’t have private yards therefor allowing the density to occur. It a giant cycle of love.

  2. […] the city would be setting a great example of the kind of density-trails, yin and yang relationship (we’ve mentioned before) that has its roots in this country’s early urban green […]

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