Park Possibilities: Creating New Green Spaces


pps.orgLast night the Academy of Natural Science’s hosted, “Hiding in Plain Sight: Finding the City’s New Green Spaces,” an event co-sponsored by the Horticultural Society, and the Philadelphia Commission of Parks and Recreation. The evening’s line-up of presenters explained that Philadelphia (like many other crowded urban areas) holds immense promise for creating park space in the most unlikely places.

Keynote speaker Peter Harnick led the charge. Harnick is the director of the Center for City Park Excellence, and author of a handful of books on creating flourishing green spaces in bustling cities. Last night, Harnick explained and read excerpts from his most recent publication, Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities. The book is a balance between Harnick’s philosophical musings on parks, and well-researched examples of city parks that work. The pages also include 14 ways to create new parks in crowded cities, many of which are downright surprising. Continue after the jump for a full list.

  1. Buy Land
  2. Use Urban Redevelopment
  3. Turn Part-Time Schoolyards into Full-Time Parks
  4. Turn Filled-Up Landfills into Brand New Parks
  5. Make Double Use of Stormwater Retention Ponds
  6. Turn Cemeteries for the Dead…into Parks for the Living
  7. Rooftop Parks
  8. Decking Reservoirs with Parkland
  9. Community Gardens
  10. Rail Trails
  11. Benefiting from Boulevards
  12. Closing Park Roads to Cars, or Removing Roads Entirely
  13. Decking Roads Over with Parks
  14. Removing Excess Parking

As Harnick points out, parks can be created on almost any flat service, whether 60 stories above ground or right outside your neighborhood schools.

Speaking of which, the evening also featured an update on Philly's Green 2015 action plan from Mark Focht, executive director, Fairmount Park. Focht shared that Green 2015’s plan to create 500 new acres of green space in the City is well on its way – with 100 acres completed or underway, and 105 acres currently in the planning stages.

For more information, and video coverage of "Hiding in Plain Sight" visit, PlanPhilly.