Hampstead Heath, London.
The UK's surviving urban commons are precious green spaces, but the laws that protect them are confusing, complicated and in some cases outdated.
In New England, where most land is privately owned, research shows that land conservation promotes economic growth.
Harvard Forest/Ryan Burton
Protecting land from being developed intuitively may seem like a drag on local economies, but research in New England finds that it has the opposite effect.
Grass surfaces require a lot of maintenance, especially in high-traffic areas.
Weeds are serious problems on sports fields, parks and other sites covered with turfgrass. A new strategy uses mechanical force to kill them instead of chemical herbicides.
Contact with nature reduces stress and aggression, one reason scholars say urban green space may reduce violence.
Some parks reduce violence in the local vicinity. Other parks attract crime. The difference has to do with how these urban green spaces are designed, programmed and managed, experts say.
Parks are places where children make their own decisions, explore their imaginations and expand their abilities.
Parents are more willing to let children do their own thing in parks. It's a chance for children to make their own decisions, explore their abilities and imaginations, and weigh up risks.
Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland National Park, UK.
Approximately 50% of the UK's poorest people live over 15 miles from a national park and most people require transport to get to them.
Nowhere for wildlife to Hyde.
I Wei Huang/Shutterstock
Keeping urban habitats such as parks neat and tidy by removing dead wood and leaves is driving the species which live there to extinction.
Recycled Island Foundation
A floating park made from discarded plastic in Rotterdam could spark new thinking on how we manage waste.
Tiny Paley Park, surrounded by skyscrapers in New York City, introduced the concept of a ‘pocket park’ in dense urban centers.
Research shows that access to urban green space makes people and neighborhoods healthier. But parks can't work their magic if their design ignores the needs of nearby communities.
Elephants in Kakoi village, Burunge Wildlife Management Area.
Credit: Alex Wunsch
Narratives about successful community-based conservation efforts in Tanzania need to be probed.
Filipe Frazao / Shutterstock.com
Green spaces can help to address loneliness. But they are highly vulnerable to austerity.
Noise pollution is usually associated with aeroplanes flying overhead, not happy children.
Parks should service a variety of needs, not just cater to one group of people.
Eurydice Dixon was murdered in a busy Melbourne park - how can we make these spaces safer for women?
DAVID CROSLING/AAP Image
Australia has guidelines for designing safe parks, but the stories of many women show these are not enough. We must involve women in co-designing these shared public spaces.
Hiking the Savage River Loop in Denali National Park and Preserve, Alaska.
Many studies have shown that time outdoors is good for our physical health. Three wilderness education experts explain why periods alone in nature also provide mental and spiritual benefits.
A sculpture of William Ricketts looms over those of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men at the sanctuary in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges.
A mossy sanctuary in Victoria's Dandenong Ranges houses 92 sculptures, mostly of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men, women and children. They are steeped in primitivism, yet the park is a popular tourist attraction.
Being in a park tends to make people feel more positive, although the time of day and the season also affect their moods.
The positive mood of tweets varies with time of day and season, but it's consistently higher in parks than in built-up areas, where people are more likely to express anger and fears.
Overflowing bins are one way to spoil the amenity of public space, but sensors can now alert councils when bins need emptying.
Researchers are installing sensors to collect data about the use of public spaces. This can improve the management and public amenity of these places, but will users see the technology as intrusive?
The Wray Avenue Solar Parklet by Seedesign Studio is in Fremantle.
Many parklets are privately funded, but these projects often allow for more public participation than more traditional public spaces.
A photograph of Penn Station’s interior from the 1930s.
We asked five architecture experts to name one building or structure they wish had been preserved, but couldn't resist the tides of decay, development and discrimination.
Martchan / Shutterstock
Such projects should be clear from the outset about who owns them, who will build them, and who they are for.