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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
First let me say I am not opposed to parks in the slightest, I would just like to hear thoughts on my particular reality.

There is a current thread about rankings and one of the factors measured is the amount of park space available in the cities. This made me think of the significance of this, particularly in the South because of the nature of our built environment. It's a southern tradition to "have your own", so there are a significant amount of single family homes in the south and suburban styled environments even in the city limits. These types of environments many times afford people the opportunity to do what they would normally do in a park in their own large backyard or neighborhood. There are tons of homes today with playground equipment and pools in their backyards.

Plus there are other X factors at play such as open fields and trails in cities in the south. I'm sure you can go to most cities in the south and find a group of kids playing football or soccer or softball in a open space behind an apartment complex, or exploring some wooded area with a man-made trail. None of these things are considered parks. I think of my own city of Houston, which is considered a place to not have enough park space, and I wonder if the tons of miles of paved trails and grassy areas along our bayous citywide are officially classified as park space? IMO, Houston does pretty well in the park department with the city's 3 largest all being at the least 1/2 mile from downtown and the the most 5 miles from downtown. And there are countless other small parks all over the city.

I guess my question is should the significance of parks in say like a New York or Chicago or Philly styled environment be measured the same as many cities in the south? I understand why Central Park is so important in New York but wonder if the large parks in Jacksonville are viewed in the same manor? Does having a whole lot of park space in Southern Metros just something that looks great on paper?
 

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you made a great point because it reminds me of miami ,which i believe is one of the cities with the least parkspace in the US,BUT WE have tons of beaches which should be considered parks because alot of people play volleyball,football,basketball,futbol and have picnics at the beach so i think that beaches should count as a park.

in my opinon the south doesn't need park space because the average house has like an acre for a back yard,while in the northeast most people are crammed into small spaces.
 

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Central Park almost serves as a gathering place in Manhattan unlike most sunbelt cities because in our culture we usaully do things in our own backyards. I never did understand why some people say southern cities do not have enough park space, or maybe, like you mentioned, i was used to seeing an abundance of green space in houston. The special thing about central park is the location. On every side, there is a dense wall of buildings and it gives you a sense of where you are in proportion to the city. the fact that green space is limited on manhattan makes it a greater and more vibrant atmosphere.
 

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Interesting topic. I'd say the parks in Jacksonville greatly enhance the regions quality of life. Parks are much more than a bbq grill, pool, or playground set. For example, most residents can't afford to live on the Atlantic Ocean or St. Johns River. However, there's countless numbers of parks that give the public access to these beautiful natural features. For example, Hanna Park offers 450 acres of undeveloped land along the Atlantic Ocean. You feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, despite being surrounded by thousands of beach homes, hotels and a large Naval base. Only 15 minutes from downtown, it offers many things like hiking, canoeing, jogging paths, etc. that aren't available in suburbanite's backyards.

Other parks, like Riverside's Memorial Park or Springfield's mile long chain of parks, offer large playing fields, riverwalks, museums, duck ponds, historic monuments, slave plantations, colonial forts, etc. To sum it up, these places raise surrouding property values and are great destination points to meet people from all cultures. So in Jacksonville's case, I'd say they're very important.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Lakelander said:
Interesting topic. I'd say the parks in Jacksonville greatly enhance the regions quality of life. Parks are much more than a bbq grill, pool, or playground set. For example, most residents can't afford to live on the Atlantic Ocean or St. Johns River. However, there's countless numbers of parks that give the public access to these beautiful natural features. For example, Hanna Park offers 450 acres of undeveloped land along the Atlantic Ocean. You feel like you're in the middle of nowhere, despite being surrounded by thousands of beach homes, hotels and a large Naval base. Only 15 minutes from downtown, it offers many things like hiking, canoeing, jogging paths, etc. that aren't available in suburbanite's backyards.

Other parks, like Riverside's Memorial Park or Springfield's mile long chain of parks, offer large playing fields, riverwalks, museums, duck ponds, historic monuments, slave plantations, colonial forts, etc. To sum it up, these places raise surrouding property values and are great destination points to meet people from all cultures. So in Jacksonville's case, I'd say they're very important.
Well, when put the way you have stated Lakelander, I can make the same case for Houston, yet it is considered a place with inadequate park space. Houston's 3 largest parks offer practically everything you listed, and are considered very important to the city. I suppose my question is should many cities in the south be penalized for not having enough park space, considering the style of our cities and metro areas? You mentioned "beautiful natural features,"....well many cities in the south have that naturally in our surroundings but those aren't considered parks. I'm wondering when comparing city park space, is everything fairly taken into consideration?

*note- There was no particular reason I chose Jacksonville. It really was just random.
 

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In my research, Jacksonville by far had the most parks on any city in the south.....I personally prefer more parks and less yards, because parks encourage social interaction. I think part of the problems facing society is our isolationist attitudes, and parks are a great way to build communities.
 

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Has anyone considered the different types of parks - which would be your favorite?

The formal plaza that serves as an urban focal point - typically in downtown (Centinneal Park - Atlanta, Lafayette Square -New Orleans)

The grand city park, typically Victorian era built at what was then the city's edge. Now an urban park that serves multiple recreational needs (Piedmont Park - Atlanta, City Park - New Orleans)

Neighborhood parks, small pocket sized to full block sized parks for local recreational needs, usually playgrounds to tennis courts.

Greenspace - parks not fully developed but serve partially as wildlife sanctuary. In urban areas they can be excellent 'getaways' with hiking trails, they can also be home to civic facilities such as a zoo. (Lane Park - Birmingham, Chattahoochee River Park - Atlanta)

Recreational Center - these don't serve as green space, but are strictly for recreational needs such as ball parks or even golf courses. Quite often these are found in suburban areas.

Of course, all serve a unique function and in their totality serve a greater good. But some of these parks are not fully utilized or are poorly planned and only provide a neutral influence on the greater area. My view the county funded 'mega-parks' are these, they are usually strictly automobile oriented & requre huge number of parking spaces & offer a limited possibility for people to interact.
 

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Velvetj said:
Well, when put the way you have stated Lakelander, I can make the same case for Houston, yet it is considered a place with inadequate park space. Houston's 3 largest parks offer practically everything you listed, and are considered very important to the city. I suppose my question is should many cities in the south be penalized for not having enough park space, considering the style of our cities and metro areas? You mentioned "beautiful natural features,"....well many cities in the south have that naturally in our surroundings but those aren't considered parks. I'm wondering when comparing city park space, is everything fairly taken into consideration?

*note- There was no particular reason I chose Jacksonville. It really was just random.
I guess it depends on how well parks intergrate into their community, to see if everything is fairly taken into consideration. Nevertheless, its pretty hard to say a suburban city, with little park space, will be better off in the future, than another with a lot of park space in the future. If both continue to urbanize and fill in at the same rate, the one with decent park space will probably end up being the one with higher property values because it will end up having several places for the community to freely jog, socialize, let the dogs run, etc., while the other becomes mostly wall to wall concrete.
 

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another reason people argue for parks is the sense of civic pride and sense of community it can enstill. Sure people from a neighborhood can gather in someone's backyard....but at a well-planned public park people from the entire CITY can gather and come together. What that does is give people a sense of the diversity of their city, which is more likely to be more diverse than a particular neighborhood. It also adds a sense of vibrancy.
 
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