Public urban parks have a long history of being created to offer expansive, green areas inside cities that can lessen the effects of industrialization. Most developed nations have recently come to understand the value of using public parks for various purposes to support the long-term sustainability of urban areas. The lack of public knowledge, poor upkeep, inadequate amenities, a lack of security, and a lack of sports and social activities, however, cause many public parks that already exist in developing nations to be abandoned or underutilised thriving urban parks in a city is good for the general health of its residents. The metropolitan public parks in several well-known industrialised nations, including New York, Boston, Paris, and London, are very popular and draw tourists from all over the city.

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Aerial view of a Urban Park_©Photographer Nerea Marti Sesarino

The creation of Victoria Park in 1840 became the forerunner of public parks as it was called: “People’s Park,” the concept of a modern urban park that seeks to create huge green open spaces in packed cities, was first established in Britain. In North America and Europe, urban parks gained popularity around the middle of the 19th century. Central Park in New York City, USA, is regarded as the first public park in the United States. It was created in 1859 by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, who was inspired by Birkenhead Park’s design. The idea of an urban public park has quickly taken hold in other cities to provide leisure and recreation areas that permit residents to enjoy themselves in a tranquil and healthy atmosphere. Urban parks are also crucial for maintaining urban ecology because they offer habitats for wildlife. They frequently reflect the social, cultural, and economic image of cities. Because vegetation cleans the air and helps lessen the urban heat island effect, large urban parks will also enhance the environment in cities.

Successful Public Park and the needs of human

Recognising the needs and interests of various individuals is essential to designing a thriving public park. According to Drivers, Brown, and Peterson, people who visit parks will react in an urban setting if they can fulfil their wants or desires. If the urban park adapts to visitors’ changing needs and preferences, it may be relocated to an effective and attractive location. The six categories Maslow divides human needs into are physiological needs, safety-security needs, a sense of belonging, a need for recognition, a desire for self-actualisation, and aesthetical cognition. When used in park design, these categories must be carefully taken into account because they are too broad. Carr et al. also suggested that successful urban public spaces should address the five fundamental needs of people: comfort, relaxation, exploration, and passive and active involvement with the natural world.

Benefits of encouraging Urban Public Parks

Public parks that are well-planned kept up and tailored to the users’ needs while also considering the natural surroundings will offer a usable green area that benefits both people and the environment. These advantageous impacts include bettering air quality, protecting biodiversity, and enhancing human physical and mental health. Promoting tourism, luring and keeping businesses in the region, creating job possibilities, and raising the value of the nearby land and properties, improving the quality of urban parks have economic advantages. Additionally, urban parks have educational advantages because they can be used as outdoor classrooms by colleges and institutions to practice environmental studies or conduct research. For young people to comprehend the value and significance of a sustainable environment, the educational experience’s goal is to help them feel connected to the natural world.

Why should one visit a Public Park?

People can use public urban parks to further one or more of the following goals: culture, recreation, social interaction, historic preservation, and education. To fulfil all the functions of a park, particularly for individuals with the highest needs, such as the elderly, the disabled, and low-income, there should be a balance between park zones and other amenities. 

(A) Culture: To enhance a community’s feeling of place, it is crucial to promote the presentation of cultural amenities in public parks. Urban parks make for a good setting for outdoor theatrical productions and concerts that can be deeply moving.

(B) Recreation: The positive emotion that comes from engaging freely in activities that can improve human wellness on a physical, social, intellectual, creative, and spiritual level. Three leisure activities can be done in public parks: passive, spontaneous, and structured. Reading, socialising, wandering, taking pictures, and relaxing while taking in the natural environment and fauna are passive activities. The amenities required for passive recreation may include picnic tables, benches, walking paths, and shaded locations. Visitors can choose and engage in physical activities without registering, which promotes spontaneous recreation. These activities include walking, running, bicycling, skating, climbing, ball sports, and kid-friendly play spaces.

(C) Social: Parks provide a wonderful setting for social interaction aimed at recognising individual differences, which fosters social cohesiveness and robust community growth. The most popular social activity is meeting up with old friends and making new ones. In a place like a public park, people from all cultural backgrounds will be able to engage and connect. 

(D) Heritage: Numerous public urban parks were built on top of or close to important historical sites or monuments. In these situations, urban parks will play a significant part in safeguarding the town’s heritage and raising public awareness and usage. The creation of cultural activities in the park inspires many forms of history celebration.

(E) Education: Urban Park is a fantastic setting for teaching about the environment and nature. It is a valuable location to share various experiences to instruct the general public and students on caring for their environment.

Al-Shalalat Park of Alexandria _©Photographer Ahmed Osama

Example of Urban Public Park

Alexandria, a Mediterranean city and Egypt’s second capital, is home to Al-Shalalat Park. It lacked an adequate public park to assist individuals in coping with stress and improving their overall health. Three historical gardens are spread out over the entire city, but sadly, they could be better used. The park was built in the late 19th century AD on a Roman archaeological site. Mon front, a French engineer, created the park’s design based on that of American landscape architect and designer Federick Law Olmsted. There are several old buildings, numerous ancient plant species, a lake, a waterfall, open green spaces for families, and a youth activity centre.


Hetvi Jadia is an architecture student and a dancer, born and brought up in Surat, Gujarat. She started developing interest in writing since a long time.