The Importance Of Parks In An Urban World

<p>Green spaces and parks are becoming increasingly important as more and more people inhabit urban areas.</p>
July 15, 2007, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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"In communities around the world, this one included, interest in the public realm – parks, squares, plazas, piazzas – has never been greater."

"But Toronto, like many other cities, has neglected its green spaces and chronically underfunded them. As a result, there aren't enough parks to serve a growing population, and those we do have are deteriorating."

"Finally, even municipal politicians have realized that parks are not civic frills but urban necessities. The backdrop to this is a growing awareness that the future will unfold in cities. In Canada, for example, more than 80 per cent of the population now inhabit urban centres. And for the first time in history, more than half the planet's population lives in cities."

"With these growing urban populations comes growing need for communal spaces. Keep in mind, too, that many new urbanites live in highrise condos so small they barely have room to breathe. As a result, they look to the city to provide many of the features house-owners take for granted. In this sense, life in Toronto has become more European; we no longer just live in the city, we inhabit it. The city is where we eat, drink, sit outside, meet friends, or simply watch the passing parade."

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Published on Friday, July 13, 2007 in The Toronto Star
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