The first parks were land set aside for hunting by the aristocracy in medieval times. They would have walls or thick hedges around them to keep game in and other people out. These evolved into the landscaped parks set around aristocratic houses from the sixteenth century onwards. These may have served as hunting grounds but they also proclaimed the owner’s wealth and status. An aesthetic of landscape design began in these parks where the natural landscape was enhanced by designers such as Capability Brown.
With the Industrial revolution parks took on a new meaning as areas set aside to preserve a sense of nature in the large industrial cities. Sporting activity came to be a major use for these urban parks. Areas of outstanding natural beauty were also set aside as national parks to prevent them are spoilt by uncontrolled development.
In the twentieth century a number of meanings arose which associated the “designed ” landscape of a park with other uses such as business parks, theme parks and parkways.
Public Parks, It’s Functions and How They Have Been Accommodated
Public parks, found in population areas such as towns and cities and accessible to the public, are usually ornamented spaces with lawns, flower beds and trees. Intended primarily for recreational use, public parks offer resting-places, paths and sometimes play areas. They vary in size from a small town square to a large tract of land and they often accommodate official functions.
Many smaller neighborhood parks are receiving increased attention and valuation as significant community assets and places of refuge in heavily populated urban areas. Neighborhood groups around the world are joining together to support local parks that have suffered from urban decay and government neglect.
A linear park is a park that has a much greater length than width. A typical example of a linear park is a section of a former railway that has been converted into a park (i.e. the tracks removed, vegetation allowed to grow back). This Parks are sometimes made out of oddly shaped areas of land, much like the vacant lots that often become city neighborhood parks.
The a good example of public park is the Public Gardens of Halifax, conceived by Richard Power, landscape gardener, they were opened to the public in 1875. Power had incorporated earlier gardens developed by the Nova Scotia Horticultural Society from 1837 as well as a municipal garden created in 1867. Today the Public Gardens( Public Park) of Halifax consist of winding paths, flower beds in geometric form surrounded by grass, borders of both perennials and annuals, statues, fountains and a bandstand, the latter attesting to the Victorian taste for open air musical performances.
The principal function of horticultural gardens (Public Park) is for scientific research and public education, although their recreational and aesthetic qualities are often featured. Into this category there were experimental farms (where crop research, agricultural utilization studies and the breeding and testing of ornamental plants for hardiness are carried out), nurseries (where young plants destined for thinning or for use as stock are grown), botanical gardens (where plant species are cultivated, classified and identified for methodical study) and arboreta (nurseries devoted to the experimental cultivation of trees of different species).
The Royal Botanical Gardens of Hamilton, established by provincial legislation in 1941 but with an unofficial history dating back to the 1920s when the city began acquiring land for it, is an example of the horticultural garden (Public Park). It consists of vast landscaped gardens including a notable collection of irises, a rock garden, a rose garden, an arboretum (including a lilac garden), a children’s garden, a garden with medicinal plants, natural areas for explaining ecosystems, as well as a program of courses and research. Its activities are principally directed to scientific research, teaching, public education and also amusement.
The institutional garden (Public Park) is a pleasure garden whose function is to complete or enhance public buildings such as hotels, hospitals and factories as well as religious or administrative buildings. Its raison d’être is often directly connected with the building’s function but it also provides an aesthetic complement to the architecture. In the first decades of the twentieth century, gardens were laid out next to schools so that the children could learn the rudiments of gardening. These gardens (Public Park) had a pedagogical function. In the same period, almost everywhere in the country, gardens were laid out next to small railway stations. They served to beautify the sites and, particularly in the West, to promote the development of new regions.
The grounds laid out between 1875 and 1879 by landscape artist Calvert Vaux in front of the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa were designed to reinforce the institution of government. The building’s architects, conscious of the importance of the project, were concerned from the beginning that the grounds be in harmony with the buildings. Vaux included elegant steps leading to a large terrace, a broad sweep for the arrival and departure of vehicles, along with enclosures and low walls, which lend considerable grandeur to the whole. Over time these grounds have acquired an importance derived from their association with major events in Canadian life (ceremonies, celebrations, protests); they have contributed to the symbolic value of the place.
Residential gardens (Public Park) have a much more private, intimate character, whether they are pleasure gardens, vegetable or kitchen gardens or even small plots of aromatic herbs laid out next to private or official residences. Maplelawn in Ottawa, built from 1831 to 1834 by William Thomson, a farmer, had an adjoining walled garden. In its early stages it was probably a kitchen garden for the domestic use of the household. In the 1940s perennial borders were laid out.
Today, the garden still has the four-square layout of the beds. Often many such distinct gardens are incorporated into the formal or informal design for the grounds of one residence. For example, the W.B. MOTHERWELL HOMESTEAD in Saskatchewan, developed over time since 1883 and taking into account the local climate and the scientific expertise of the time, contained various pleasure gardens, vegetable gardens, orchards and shelterbelts. RIDEAU HALL in Ottawa, with its fine perennial gardens, is an example of a pleasure garden situated in the pastoral setting of an official estate.
Specialized gardens (Public Park), often designed in response to changing fashions, exclusively feature a single physical element such as water, rocks or roses, or a structural element such as greenhouses, glass-walled rooms or statues. Aquatic gardens, perennial gardens, rose gardens, sculpture gardens, zoological gardens, enclosed gardens, winter gardens, roof gardens and even greenhouses are familiar examples of specialized gardens. A notable example of this garden type is the Cascade of Times rock garden at Banff, constructed in 1935 and intended to display the geology of the Rockies.
- Braun, Bradley M. (May 1992) Science Parks as Economic Development Policy.
- Castells, Manuel and Hall, Peter. (1994). Technopoles of the world: the making of twenty-first-century industrial complexes. London ; New York : Routledge.
- Duroso, Thomas. (July 8, 1996). Research Parks: Forming Strategies to Adapt to End of Building Boom.
- Levitt, Rachelle. (1987). The University/Real Estate Connection: Research Parks and Other Ventures. Washington, D.C.: Urban Land Institute.