While the entire world is facing with the problem of environmental pollution, public parks are becoming important than ever. Due to the rise of heavy industries and in the number of vehicles, the air is constantly getting polluted, and especially in the cities, where the industrial activity and the movement of transport is very high, air pollution is heavily contributing to the diseases like asthma.
Under these conditions, the importance of creating or maintaining a green open space in and around the central area of the city has become a matter of concern to the civic bodies of across the globe. But a public park does not only supply us oxygen, it does much more than that, ranging from raising the pride of the place to serving an ideal place for recreation and intellectual activity (Hume, 2007). Because of these reasons, the town planners always feel the urge of having a public park in the town, and in the process, they either chance upon a natural place and shape it, or have to create it from the scratch. Therefore, this essay checks the main functions of public parks with the example of the above two types of parks, before reaching a conclusion.
- MAIN FUNCTIONS OF A PUBLIC PARK
Broadly speaking the main functions of a park can be divided into 10 categories, and they are:
- Space for physical activity: Parks are the ideal places for physical activities, and in case of some towns, it proves to be the only place to have physical workouts. This utility of parks prove invaluable especially to the senior citizens, who need to have simple physical workouts like walking regularly. For children, parks are always a place of delight in many ways, as parks not only provides them the much needed space to play, but also lets them the scope to observe a slice of nature from close.
- Space for social functions. Parks serve as the gathering place of the town, where public meetings or any other social or cultural event take place. Through this, parks help to fulfil the need for social communication.
- Connects the town with nature. With big trees, flowers or lakes, parks house birds, other animals, amphibians, fishes and other aquatic organisms. This creates a natural ecology, which helps the environment in many ways. The big trees absorb carbon-dioxide and release oxygen for the city, all the while absorbing the noise of the city.
- Serves as the landmark of the town. It is always helpful to have a landmark in the city and parks fulfil that need, thereby making it easy for all remember the complex roadmaps of the city.
- Heritage Item : Parks also turn as the pride of the city. With time it becomes a symbol of heritage, the identity of a town, which, in many ways contribute to the growth and development of a town.
- Place to gather mental peace. In this era of congested housing and stressful city-life, parks are the place to refresh the mind in open air. In this regards it serves the needs of human mind also.
- Place for creative or constructive discussion. An open space amid the concrete-filled city can unleash the creativity of human mind. In a town, park is that place to provide that open place. There are scores of instances where the famous poets or writers gathered their ideas while visiting a public park.
- It helps to unify the society. With the habit of meeting here regularly, the citizens of town gradually become close and unified. Parks play a silent, yet important role to create solidarity among the citizens of a town.
- It beautifies the city. Parks provide a much-needed relief for the human eyes with its greens. A well-planned park always adds to the beauty of the town. Landscape architecture can best be exhibited in the parks.
- Influences local economy. Last, but not the least, it influences the economy of a town, as the properties around a park become costlier (Top 10, 2007).
- HOW THEY ARE ACCOMMODATED: TOWN PLANNING
The making of a park with all the above abilities depend on several factors. Like, the status of the town in the political map of the country, the scope to access the open land in the heart of the city, scope build elaborate roadways around it and the scope to create an attractive environment with lakes, walkways, fountains or relics. It also has to have proper sewerage system and other systems connected to maintenance.
However, in modern times, when there is little scope to start a project like public park with open land, landscape architects are converting the abandoned places to amusement park. While the Hyde Park of London provides an examples of the first type, Landschaftspark of Germany speaks for the modern times.
- HYDE PARK
Hyde Park, one of the Royal Parks of London, is placed in central position of the city. Once it was a hunting ground of the British royals, and later it was converted into a public park around 1637, complete with lakes, walkways, artefacts, relics, lush of greens and what not. It has everything one could ask for in a park. At 1733 it was aided by landscaping too. However, The town planners of London have always enjoyed some advantages to make Hyde Park a spectacular place to visit.
Firstly, it belongs to the capital city and has a good climate, along with a great river – thus equipped with political and environmental advantages. There are instances of royal patronage for the development of this open space through centuries, while the intellectuals and the politicians have also been lending their support. That helped the town planners to make it a prime landmark of the city and to arrange the city road map accordingly.
Secondly, the planners did not have to struggle to get open land, or didn’t have to try too hard to create the green environment. These factors have made landscaping an easy job for them (Landscape, 2007).
Situated in Duisburg Nord, Germany. Landschaftspark is designed by Peter Latz 1991, where he has converted an abandoned site of two production plants (steel and coal) from a potential environmental threat to a unique visitors’ spot. Here he utilized the advantage of modern technology both to retain the past and introduce the present. In the process, he had to be innovative in every stage of its making, be it using phytoremediation, or using the old gas tanks for scuba-diving.
The old bunkers of the factories or the big factory shades were converted into garden and concert halls, while the old sewerage system of the production plants was converted into an aquatic treasure with rainwater. Yet, the aura of the old time remains as it is, with its chief elements like railways, plant shades and old walkways.
Here Peter had to work from scratch to reinstate a part of history amid the modern times. Naturally this unique creation has become a favourite joint for the tourists all across the globe. It may not be bestowed with natural advantages like Hyde Park, yet it carried the scope to recreated an exhibition of vintage industrialization attempts of humans – and Peter has utilized that advantage to the full. It may not have evolved out of the need to serve the city its much needed oxygen, yet it has saved the area from dangerous pollutants left by the production plants and also lend to the economy of the area, besides serving as a landmark of Duisburg, Nord (Landschaftspark, 2007). The success of the amusement parks like Landschaftspark also hints about the possible future of landscape architecture.
Parks serve many a purpose to the society, especially in a city, where its utility value is invaluable. With time, old, open places encouraged the city planners to landscape the place and convert it as a public park – as has happened in the case of Hyde Park of London. In the modern time, the lack of space in the heartland of a city may have limited the scope for the planners, but that is not the end of the road, as Landschaftspark has shown the way as to how a heaven can be recreated out of a seemingly hell. This also speaks about the power of human creativity under difficult conditions. In all, both Hyde Park and Landschaftspark prove a single point – that public park is truly an invaluable organ of a town.
“Hyde Park.” 2007.
“Landscape and open space planning in London.” 2007.
Hume, C. 2007. “Why parks are important.” Web Article.
“Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord”. Web Encyclopedia.
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