Sustainable
                                            Hamilton




Reinventing Urban Public Spaces:
      Neighborhood P...
Sustainable
                                                           Hamilton
How diversity and urban
parks enliven urba...
How urban
                                                        Sustainable
                                            ...
Sustainable
                                                           Hamilton
How urban parks help
build social capital
...
Sustainable
                                                            Hamilton
How urban parks keep
older adults engaged...
Sustainable
                                                Hamilton
Neighborhood Parks as
Neighborhood Assets

   Clean ...
Passive urban
                                              Sustainable
                                                Ha...
Passive urban
                                           Sustainable
                                             Hamilton...
Passive urban
                                                Sustainable
                                                ...
Sustainable
                                               Hamilton
Successful urban
neighborhood parks are..

 Integrate...
Sustainable
                                                Hamilton
Why this matters to a
community as a whole

 Many co...
Sustainable
                                               Hamilton
Successful parks
improvement initiatives

 Reflect th...
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Repurposing Public Spaces Neighborhood Parks

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How parks can strengthen or weaken neighborhoods, and what to do about them.

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Repurposing Public Spaces Neighborhood Parks

  1. 1. Sustainable Hamilton Reinventing Urban Public Spaces: Neighborhood Parks How parks can strengthen or weaken neighborhoods, and what to do about them ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton 1
  2. 2. Sustainable Hamilton How diversity and urban parks enliven urban life  The more successfully a city mingles everyday diversity of uses and users in its everyday streets, the more successfully, casually (and economically) its people thereby enliven and support well-located parks that can thus give back grace and delight to their neighborhoods instead of vacuity.  Lowly, unpurposeful and random as they appear, sidewalk contacts are the small change from which a city’s wealth of public life must grow.  Jane Jacobs, “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, 1961 ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  3. 3. How urban Sustainable Hamilton neighborhood parks impact home prices  The real estate market consistently demonstrates that many people are willing to pay a larger amount for a property located close to parks and open space areas than for a home that does not offer this amenity.  Passive neighborhood parks add the most value, active parks add the least.  Of 30 studies of parks since 1870, 25 support these conclusions.  John L. Crompton, “The Impact of Public Spaces on Property Values” Texas A&M University, 2007 ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  4. 4. Sustainable Hamilton How urban parks help build social capital  [P]arks help build and strengthen ties among community residents by bringing people together, including those who are otherwise divided by race or class, and by helping them work together on common projects.  These ties—often labeled “social capital”—represent subtle but important assets for a community. They provide avenues through which information, values, and social expectations flow, and they empower people to tackle communitywide problems, embark on collective actions, and advocate effectively for their community.  Chris Walker “The Public Value of Urban Parks” , Wallace Foundation and the Urban Institute, 2004 ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  5. 5. Sustainable Hamilton How urban parks keep older adults engaged  Older adults who have more exposure to green common space feel a stronger sense of community with their neighbors  Results are independent of how they feel about their personal health or their fear of crime  Effect is increased when older adults are involved in care of the parks  Byoung Suk-Kweon, et al, “Green common spaces and the social integration of inner-city older adults”, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1998 ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  6. 6. Sustainable Hamilton Neighborhood Parks as Neighborhood Assets  Clean and safe neighborhood parks CAN but don’t always add value  Active parks are potential community assets but rarely neighborhood assets  Only passive parks can be neighborhood assets  Most are neighborhood liabilities ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  7. 7. Passive urban Sustainable Hamilton neighborhood parks: assets or liabilities?  Active parks are potential community assets but rarely neighborhood assets  Only passive urban neighborhood parks can be neighborhood assets  “Asset “ parks can boost nearby property values up to 30%  “Liability” parks can damage nearby property values  Safety, siting, design, and appeal to diverse uses and needs differentiate “asset” parks from “liability” parks ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  8. 8. Passive urban Sustainable Hamilton neighborhood parks are assets when they...  Act as a safe, common meeting ground to connect homes and businesses  Become psychological extensions of our backyards and front porches ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  9. 9. Passive urban Sustainable Hamilton neighborhood parks are liabilities when they are...  Unplanned  Badly sited  Uninspired  Uninviting  Unsafe ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  10. 10. Sustainable Hamilton Successful urban neighborhood parks are..  Integrated into the economic life of the neighborhood  Designed and sited to attract diverse visitors throughout the day.  Completely visible from the street.  Oases for “passive” activities such as picnics, reading, nature appreciation, board games, socializing, community meetings.  Monitored effectively to discourage anti-social activity. ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  11. 11. Sustainable Hamilton Why this matters to a community as a whole  Many communities purposefully build out  They do so at the expense of their older cores  Older neighborhood economies deteriorate  Their parks are managed without a vision or plan  The interaction creates a vicious cycle of decline  No neighborhood is immune to the conditions of its adjacent neighborhoods  Eventually, the economy and quality of life in the neglected older core will impact the favored new ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton
  12. 12. Sustainable Hamilton Successful parks improvement initiatives  Reflect the needs and desires of local residents  Are driven from the ground up  Are supported from the top down  Depend on commitment more than money  Rest on whether or not local residents become Friends of the Park  Require a willingness to recognize and repurpose a doomed park ©2010, Sustainable Hamilton

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