For Philadelphia and Baltimore, Parks Are Central to Livability

How to maintain the interest and involvement in a park once it is built is a key factor in the long term success of urban public parks one of ht challenges is tho make sure that the budget exists for ongoing improvements and not just routine maintenance – this is where public involvement andtransparent city management comes into play.

The Dirt

dogpark Schuylkill River Dog Park / FSRP.org

“Many people think parks are easy, but parks are one of the hardest things for governments to do because of the physical and human aspects,” explained Peter Harnik, Hon. ASLA, director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence, while introducing a panel of experts at the New Partners for Smart Growth conference in Baltimore. The complex undertaking of how to best to create and maintain parks — for both governments and non-profits — is a thread that connected all speakers.

Mark A. Focht, FASLA, first deputy commissioner of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation and former president of ASLA, gave an overview of the amazing progress made in Philadelphia’s expansive park system over the past few years. Some 80 percent of the city’s residents are already meeting Mayor Michael Nutter’s “goal of everyone being within a ten-minute walk away from a…

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