• Who We Are

    City Parks Blog is a joint effort of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land and the City Parks Alliance to chronicle the news and issues of the urban park movement. Read more about us.
  • Urban Park Issues

  • Enter your email address to receive notifications of new City Parks Blog posts by email.

  • Archives

  • Urban Green Cover Ad

Buenos Aires Parks: Tres de Febrero & Mate Drinking

El Rosedal (wikipedia)

In this week’s “36 Hours” section the NY Times takes us to Buenos Aires, Argentina, recommending a visit to the 60-acre Parque Tres de Febrero (named after the date in which military leader Juan Manuel de Rosas was overthrown in 1852). The park is part of a larger area of parks that includes several museums, a planetarium, recreational facilities, lakes and gardens. The area is similar to New York’s Central Park in its local popularity.

Parque Tres de Febrero

Inside the space is the El Rosedal rose garden with nearly 12,000 flowers. As the Times points out, “often overlooked, the garden was recently spruced up with thousands of new roses, repaired pergolas and paths. If the mood strikes, rent a paddle boat and ride around the surrounding lake, crossed by an arched bridge.”

With under five percent of its land area in green space, Buenos Aires is not a park-rich city, but what it does have is very nice. And porteños (as its residents are known) living in this compact city do make sure to enjoy their public spaces. One common activity — a unique park use — is to drink mate, the tea-like herb common to the region. Walking through a city park you will find singles, couples and groups sipping from gords and passing them to each other. What a great way to enjoy a city’s outdoors.

Park going = mate drinking in Buenos Aires

Video: Interview with Bryant Park Horticulturist Maureen Hackett

We couldn’t grab the video, but the link to WTTW (PBS) provides a short video of Maureen Hackett talking about the comeback and operations today in New York’s Bryant Park. The attention to detail described by Hackett is good reason why when you visit the park, there so much to observe.

Tapping Reservoirs as City Parks

Cal Anderson Park, City of Seattle

Need a park in your neighborhood but don’t have any space? According to a recent article by Peter Harnik and Aric Merolli, one place to look is the large number of urban water reservoirs sitting inside cities. With new regulations requiring municipalities to cover reservoirs or institute water

The water feature above the water of the reservoir in Cal Anderson Park, (cc: flickr user djwudi).

filtration systems, new “land” is being created for parks in several cities around the country.

Most exciting is Seattle’s Cal Anderson Park, where two-thirds of the eight-acre park in Seattle’s most densely populated neighborhood was occupied by a reservoir. Today, the site is the relaxation destination for the Capitol Hill neighborhood and is quite possibly the most used park per acre in the city. (The great design by the Berger Partnership didn’t hurt this.)

The article discusses some of the tracks taken by other cities to keep or open up reservoir sites to the public, including preserving them as water features. Given the fact that they occupy large tracts of land, the idea of co-locating parks makes a good deal of practical sense.

Park Pride’s Conference on Parks in Atlanta

We want to spread the word of Atlanta-group Park Pride’s 9th annual parks and green space conference on Monday, March 22nd at the Atlanta Botanical Garden (located inside the city’s outstanding Piedmont Park). Sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation, the theme of this year’s event is “the role of parks in the new economy.” The conference is hosting a range of speakers from around the country, from Seattle to Houston to New York City. The cost of the conference is only $89 (until Feb. 4) for the one-day event.

Starving Park Budgets Not Way to Reduce Obesity

A new study says improved access to trails, parks and recreation programs can help address the nation’s obesity problem, but shrinking budgets are a real challenge to actually doing this, as reported by Science Daily.

What’s badly needed, the researchers said, are more recreation facilities and non-motorized trails, with information about them made readily available to the public, and more education about the value of physical activity. But even as more findings about these issues are being made, parks and recreation budgets are often under attack.

“The health aspects of outdoor recreational opportunities are poorly appreciated, and often these programs end up getting funded only if there’s money left over after they take care of everything else,” Randy Rosenberger [of Oregon State University and the study’s author] said.

The study seems to match common sense. Parks are great, but unless the money is spent to maintain, operate and run recreational programs in them, many will be left unused, deemed unsafe  and thus play little role in the health of people’s lives.