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View Poll Results: If you create a city, how much of it would you like to use for open spaces or parks?
None! I don't want any parks! 0 0%
Between 1 and 10% 3 12.50%
Between 11 and 20% 3 12.50%
Between 21 and 30% 8 33.33%
Between 31 and 40% 3 12.50%
Between 41 and 50% 1 4.17%
I am all for it -- more than 50%! 6 25.00%
Voters: 24. You may not vote on this poll

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Old October 17th, 2012, 09:20 PM   #1
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Open Spaces and Parks

Continuing on a trend of creating your ideal cities, my next question for you is regarding a key component to any successful city: open spaces and parks. Yes, even that dingy playground with fences all over is included in this discussion. Open spaces and parks allow people to lounge and relax while providing visitors great views of the imposing cityscape around them. Great examples include Central Park in New York, The Mall in London, Lakeshore Park in Chicago, and The Bund in Shanghai. This will be part one of two questions, in which what I would like to ask you is this:

If you are a city planner or developer, or if you are simply fascinated with cities, how much of the available land area would you like to use for open spaces or parks?

Here's something that you might want to consider: if your city has natural features, such as mountains, forests, hills, and cliffs, those would naturally be included as natural features in a park. What I'm addressing, though, is not necessarily the hills or mountains or shorelines; what I'm looking into is the possibility of any open space in your city and how much of that open space you would like to keep it as open space or convert it into a park.

My methodology: the choices will be in percentages, meaning that you will need to consider the percent amount of land in your city available, and then from the amount of land you have for your city, you will answer how much (in percent) you would like to allocate for open space or parks. For example:

You envision a city with a land area of around 100 sq km (10 km x 10 km). Of that amount of land you have for your city, how much of it would you like to use for open space -- say 30% (30 sq km), 10% (10 sq km) or more than 50% (50 sq km)?

As always, SSC rules and regulations apply. I'm looking forward to a healthy discussion here! And if you have questions on how to answer this, either let me know here or through PM.

And as a side note: golf courses also apply to open spaces too -- but it may be debatable.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 01:40 AM   #2
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Voted 21-30% but I think something around 20% would be fine, for otherwise densely developed urban areas. Parks in general, but for sufficiently frequented places also paved squares.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 01:52 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
Voted 21-30% but I think something around 20% would be fine, for otherwise densely developed urban areas. Parks in general, but for sufficiently frequented places also paved squares.
Ah. Paved squares are also open spaces too. ;D
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Old October 18th, 2012, 04:54 PM   #4
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Does your hypothetical city have a budget?
I think most people would prefer to have more parks than most cities currently do, though like everything there are economic constraints. Not so much the cost of maintaining the parks as the cost of the land or the opportunity cost of what else could be done with the land.

Anyway, I would probably go for around 20%. I think large formal parks combined with high rises in the city centre is a good look. Then out in more suburban districts I would go for more extensive contiguous green spaces, with sports fields, a bit of forestry, biking trails etc.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 05:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascar
Does your hypothetical city have a budget?
I think most people would prefer to have more parks than most cities currently do, though like everything there are economic constraints. Not so much the cost of maintaining the parks as the cost of the land or the opportunity cost of what else could be done with the land.

Anyway, I would probably go for around 20%. I think large formal parks combined with high rises in the city centre is a good look. Then out in more suburban districts I would go for more extensive contiguous green spaces, with sports fields, a bit of forestry, biking trails etc.
For this exercise, I will presume that you will have an unlimited budget so that you can work towards a park city, if you're aiming for that design. I will add economic constraints as I add more poll threads so that you can adjust your park and open space percentage accordingly. Good thing you asked that question because it will allow me to fine tune my polls even better when I develop even more in the process.

And you must have a good combination indeed: large formal parks in the big city, with green spaces, sports fields, forestry, and biking trails in the suburbs, is a good thing. But, do you think that green spaces, sports fields, and biking trails can be integrated in the big city as well? The trend nowadays seems to be focused on alternate modes of transportation wherein biking, walking, and transit are becoming the norm rather than the exception.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 09:18 PM   #6
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I was thinking of leisure as opposed to transit, but I don't see why my green spaces shouldn't be used for commuting. Particularly as I was thinking of long, contiguous chains of greenery, these could be aligned from the city centre out to the suburbs.

Of course many cities already have provision for cyclists, but cycling to work can be an unpleasant rather than relaxing experience, avoiding cars and concrete kerbs, wondering what the idiot driver behind you is doing etc. Even somewhere very pro-cyclist like Holland you are still in the same polluted noisy space as cars and having to cross the same junctions as them. A 10km cycle through greenery well away from traffic would be a lot more pleasant! While still being viable as you are using the same green spaces that the city needs anyway.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 09:24 PM   #7
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I have to say I wouldn't mind what the percentage of park/public land was, I'd focus on the design, layout, use and location of these places. A city with 5% beautiful, attractive squares and small parks is much better than one with 50% neglected waste ground.
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Old October 18th, 2012, 09:50 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rascar View Post
I was thinking of leisure as opposed to transit, but I don't see why my green spaces shouldn't be used for commuting. Particularly as I was thinking of long, contiguous chains of greenery, these could be aligned from the city centre out to the suburbs.

Of course many cities already have provision for cyclists, but cycling to work can be an unpleasant rather than relaxing experience, avoiding cars and concrete kerbs, wondering what the idiot driver behind you is doing etc. Even somewhere very pro-cyclist like Holland you are still in the same polluted noisy space as cars and having to cross the same junctions as them. A 10km cycle through greenery well away from traffic would be a lot more pleasant! While still being viable as you are using the same green spaces that the city needs anyway.
Ah. Well, bicycle pathways are increasingly becoming common because bicycling is a less-polluting way to commute between home and work, and that investments, especially in large cities as New York and San Francisco, are ramping up over time to include bicycle paths and bike-friendly transit options and features. Plus, bike-sharing and bike rentals are becoming a popular option to travel around cities and tour the sights -- using your feet -- and not only it gives you exercise, but you also save time looking for a parking spot.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 02:07 AM   #9
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Between 1 and 10%

I don't think you need that much parkland in a city. Maybe a large park/square in the centre, then smaller once dotted around the suburbs. Any large roads that are required in the city should be built as parkways rather than motorways, but I don't know if they count.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 03:18 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poshbakerloo View Post
Between 1 and 10%

I don't think you need that much parkland in a city. Maybe a large park/square in the centre, then smaller once dotted around the suburbs. Any large roads that are required in the city should be built as parkways rather than motorways, but I don't know if they count.
Parkways instead of motorways... hmmm... interesting angle there. I think that would be debatable because parkways were originally made as scenic roadways where people can "calm down and relax" as one moves away from the city.

With that, I ask a follow up question: do you think that parkways also count as open spaces too? Why?
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Old October 19th, 2012, 06:34 AM   #11
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Though parks are important, city-squares or plazas are best if it's located inside a CBD or a downtown area.

And it provides a good relaxing space.

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Old October 19th, 2012, 06:42 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Manila-X View Post
Though parks are important, city-squares or plazas are best if it's located inside a CBD or a downtown area.

And it provides a good relaxing space.

Yes, that's true. That's Union Square, one of the places I frequent sometimes when I go to San Francisco, and I call that city my playground. I just really wish I live there full-time rather than living in suburbia.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 07:06 AM   #13
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No more than 20%, parks cost a lot of money to maintain and overgrown parks look horrible.
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Old October 19th, 2012, 07:32 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musiccity
No more than 20%, parks cost a lot of money to maintain and overgrown parks look horrible.
Ah, interesting thought. Probably you account for water, power, and manpower costs, in which you account for those before making a park, eh?
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Old October 19th, 2012, 10:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldsofdreams View Post
Yes, that's true. That's Union Square, one of the places I frequent sometimes when I go to San Francisco, and I call that city my playground. I just really wish I live there full-time rather than living in suburbia.
I prefer suburban living but hanging out in the city.
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Old October 20th, 2012, 08:24 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldsofdreams View Post

With that, I ask a follow up question: do you think that parkways also count as open spaces too? Why?
If it has wide grass verges, planted with trees and a wide pavement beyond that away from the roadway then yeah I guess I would count it as an open space. But if it was just a landscaped road for cars then no.

The thing I like about the parkway design is that it means you can have a big road to handle lots of traffic but at the same time it looks nice, and helps to counteract the pollution generated. A lot better than a concrete viaduct lol
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Old October 20th, 2012, 10:15 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poshbakerloo

If it has wide grass verges, planted with trees and a wide pavement beyond that away from the roadway then yeah I guess I would count it as an open space. But if it was just a landscaped road for cars then no.

The thing I like about the parkway design is that it means you can have a big road to handle lots of traffic but at the same time it looks nice, and helps to counteract the pollution generated. A lot better than a concrete viaduct lol
I think I can consider such spaces as open spaces when it has some green spaces where people can actually congregate in the middle... Like a wide median of sorts. There are a few examples here in my region, including the Panhandle in San Francisco, bounded by Fell Street to the north, Oak Street to the south, Stanyan Street to the west, and Baker Street to the east. Also included would be Mandela Parkway in Oakland where the open space that exists was formerly the Cypress Street viaduct which was destroyed 23 years ago to a powerful earthquake on October 17, 1989.

I wonder though which kind/s medians would qualify as open space indeed.
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Old October 20th, 2012, 10:44 PM   #18
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More than 50% the city is for people! but of couse depends in how big the city is
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Old October 20th, 2012, 10:50 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BringMe
More than 50% the city is for people! but of couse depends in how big the city is
What do you mean? I wonder how a city like Tokyo can still have more open spaces when the metropolis is already overcrowded... while keeping their building development efficient in such compact space.
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Old October 21st, 2012, 01:06 AM   #20
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Ideally, 50% to 2/3 of the total area of a city would be parkland. Parks would act like natural barriers establishing different clusters bysectioned by transportation routes (urban highways, subways, monorails) but establishing buffer zones that break continuity and create clusters. Like a mosaic.

Urban plazas are nice as long as they are kept empty and have something monumental about that, without clutter such as food stands or else.
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