Articles on Parks

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A sculpture of William Ricketts looms over those of Arrernte and Pitjantjatjara men at the sanctuary in Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges. Chris Haych/flickr

Friday essay: William Ricketts Sanctuary is a racist anachronism but can it foster empathy?

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. leungchopan/Shutterstock

Tweet all about it – people in parks feel more positive

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. Wikimedia

Sensors in public spaces can help create cities that are both smart and sociable

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?
A photograph of Penn Station’s interior from the 1930s. Bernice Abbott

Remembering America’s lost buildings

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.
The High Line in New York City, a former elevated railroad trestle converted to a public park. Shinya Suzuki/Flickr

Urban nature: What kinds of plants and wildlife flourish in cities?

In an urbanizing world, people increasingly are seeking out nature in cities. Research shows that diverse species of animals, plants and insects can thrive in areas that humans have altered.
Providing green space can deliver health, social and environmental benefits for all urban residents – few other public health interventions can achieve all of this. Anne Cleary

Green space – how much is enough, and what’s the best way to deliver it?

Urban green spaces are most effective at delivering their full range of health, social and environmental benefits when physical improvement of the space is coupled with social engagement.
Older people in a park in Nanchang, China. Author provided.

Why communities should be designing parks for older adults

You don't often see many of the nation's 75 million seniors hanging out in parks. There may be a reason. Most parks are not designed with seniors in mind. Here are some ways to change that.
PARKing Day in Montreal, 2015. Amelia Thorpe

A day for turning parking spaces into pop-up parks

This Friday is the 11th PARKing Day, when people pay a parking meter, then turn the space into a pop-up parklet. It's a day that invites citizens to rethink the city and their place in it.
Brian Halsey, 'Novem II,' 1981, 8 Color Silkscreen Serigraph

Are we in the midst of a public space crisis?

Many praise the internet as a democratizing force. But with online spaces replacing physical public squares as places for debate, what do we risk losing?
People enjoy the green space of parks, but often their activities are of a fairly passive nature. AAP/Bimal Sharma

Most people just park themselves, so how do we promote more healthy activity in public parks?

Parks are found in most neighbourhoods, generally free to use and are enjoyed by diverse groups. Although most visitors don't use parks for physical activity, modest improvements can change that.
A park, in this case Hyde Park in Sydney, is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to engage with nature in the city. Lucy Taylor

Reducing stress at work is a walk in the park

Nature is dispersed through our cities, even if we don’t notice it. And there's abundant evidence that engaging with nature, even in urban settings, is good for us.

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