In this recent post we displayed data on the size of most U.S. city parks, and found that most are 5 acres or less — many of which are the nearby parks residents come into contact with most often. The importance of good neighborhood parks is key to attracting residents and especially families in denser urban neighborhoods without any or large backyards.
One resource with some good insights on planning and the design of such parks is a book called Designing Small Parks by Ann Forsyth and Laura Musacchio. For those interested, it might be worth a look. Here’s the product review from Amazon:
Designing Small Parks: A Manual for Addressing Social and Ecological Concerns provides guidelines for building better parks by integrating design criteria with current social and natural science research. Small parks are too often relegated to being the step-child of municipal and metropolitan open space systems because of assumptions that their small size and isolation limits their recreational capacity and makes them ecologically less valuable than large city and county parks. This manual is arranged around twelve topics that represent key questions, contradictions, or tensions in the design of small parks. Topics cover fundamental issues for urban parks, natural systems, and human aspects. Also included are useful case studies with alternative design solutions using three different approaches for integrating research findings into small urban park design.
Planetizen marked the book one of the ten best in 2006, and offers a review.
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