spring in the park Nicholas Hely Hutchinson

Nicholas Hely Hutchinson

The Oregon city of Portland has way more parks than Sheffield (similar size and population). So it’s not like we can’t do the same: green quiet spaces with litter/recycling bins and solar lighting (that goes off at night, to avoid light pollution).

London Parks spends a year walking around the author’s favourite parks. From his local haunt on Hampstead Heather to Richmond Park to Battersea Park (with the little brown dog statue, in memory of the first victim of vivisection). Whether you’re spotting pelicans and politicians in St James’ Park or enjoying views from Greenwich Park, there’s something here for every city dweller.

Park Life is a book by travel writer Tom Chesshyre who recalls 50 of his favourite urban parks around the world, and what we can learn from them. Whether in Colombia or Korea, America or Australia, urban parks are places to feel calm amid the chaos.

Why Public Space Matters is a book that suggests to not sell off land to business, but make public spaces sustainable greenways for the public to play, meet, talk, read, debate and work. Looking at public spaces from New York to Costa Rica, the author shows why they matterand how we can expand and protect them, both at grassroots and national level. Setha M Low is a professor of environmental psychology.

a guide to London’s Hyde Park, naturally

Hyde Park is one of England’s most popular parks, attracting millions of residents and tourists each year. A former hunting ground (built in 1536 by King Henry VIII), he ‘stole the park’ from local monks who used the area as a place of worship and to garden. He forced the monks to go elsewhere and began to use the park to hunt deer. Today thankfully no deer are hunted in this park and instead the 350 acres of land is home to over 4000 trees and an antique bandstand. Nearby Marble Arch was designed to be an add-on to Buckingham Palace, before being moved to neare Hyde Park.

Lake Serpentine is not actually a lake, it’s a pool built by royalty. This 40-acre body of water was built at the request of Queen Caroline in 1730 and marks a boundary from Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, with water originally pumped from the river Thames.

Hyde Park is also home to a ‘speakers’ corner’ used for campaigning. Two famous speeches were in 1855 (when riots broke out over a Sunday Trading Bill, which Karl Marx called ‘the beginning of the English Revolution). And in 1972 when three Irish republicans were arrested after giving speeches following Bloody Sunday (after British troops opened fire and killed 13 civil rights demonstrators in Derry). And of course the park suffered tragedy in 1982, when an IRA bomb which killed four men and seven horses.

what councils can learn from Central Park 

central park simply Katy

Simply Katy Prints

Although we have many public parks, the larger ones could learn from New York’s Central Park, which has gone from being a dangerous place to get mugged, to one of the gold standard parks on earth, which houses a third of the city’s wildlife and birds. With 58 miles of walking routes, boating lakes and over 18,000 trees and 10,000 benches, it’s three times smaller than London’s Richmond Park (yet the latter still have people ignore warnings to stay away from rutting deer in autumn and many litter clean-ups have found plastic bags wrapped around a stag’s mouth, hedgehogs entangled in party balloons and cormorant birds with plastic beer rings around their necks. Richmond Park has also called out people for littering disposable face masks and cyclists who drop blue hydration gel (some deer have died on eating it).

Yet Central Park (despite having over 40 million annual visitors) have ratproof bins that are emptied by quiet electric vehicles, and the park is mostly litter-free. One area of contention is using horses for carriage rides (many are spooked and injured in roads). A local nonprofit wants the horses to go to sanctuaries and have designed vintage-style electric cars that would give more profits to drivers and still give tourist rides, but not at the expense of animal welfare.

Similar Posts