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Park Design Issues.

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Introduction

Ritchison, Derek Facilities Management, RPLS 379 February 4, 2004 Park Design Issues, Assignment #1 I always knew Minneapolis had a quality park system, but I had no idea it was renowned throughout the country. Also, I had no idea there was such a large number of parks, lakes, trails and just plain "open space" in Minneapolis. There are over 150 parks, 30 lakes and 50 miles of parkways in Minneapolis. It is obvious much credit is due to Frederick Law Olmsted and his park design principles, which are heavily included in the Minneapolis park system. I believe all of Olmsted's basic principles are apparent in the Minneapolis parks, and have been since the very beginnings of the city. One of the first things city officials did was set aside different areas of land specifically for parks. There were many benefits of doing this. First, it allowed the city to build houses around all the parks, making them all easily accessible. Also, it placed many different parks throughout the city, scattered but connected. This way, no matter where you live, there will be open space and "green relief" somewhere nearby. Most of the parks in Minneapolis, especially the larger, more frequented ones, are connected by parkways. ...read more.

Middle

Loring. Later, in 1889, the board purchased land for Minnehaha Park. The early nineteen hundreds was a huge growing period for many of the now popular parks in Minneapolis. Theodore Wirth, who has his own park and district named after him, was the superintendent of the board during these years, and he played a vital role in developing the parks into what they are today. Many of the lakes at that time were nothing more than swampy areas with constant flooding problems, almost comparable to New York's pre-Central Park. Wirth drained the swampy areas and graded the lake's banks to stop the flooding. Also, it is because of Wirth that the lakes in the Chain of Lakes district are so conveniently connected, as I mentioned before. In the summer of 1911, he oversaw the connecting of the two more popular lakes in that district, Lake of the Isles and Lake Calhoun. Another one of Olmsted's principles, which is very noticeable in the Minneapolis parks, is that city parks should offer a variety of activities for the public. This principle is no more apparent than in the Chain of Lakes district. Even though all are close and connected, each lake's environment seems completely different from the next. ...read more.

Conclusion

It eliminates overpopulation and helps to control diseases. Another goal cities need to pursue is the acquisition and development of new land or open space. This can be done in many ways. Cities can reuse or renovate old buildings or slums. Also, cities could reclaim vacant territory, combine public space for multiple uses or start using open spaces more effectively. There are many examples of Minneapolis doing all of these. Old factories and warehouses have been turned into modern and classy condominiums. Bike trails have been put alongside major highways, like along I-94, or on top of old, unused railroad tracks. Lastly, Garvin believed cities need to redesign certain facilities to make them more accessible. One example of this, although it could be considered acquiring or developing new land, would be the bridge by the Walker Art Center. This bridge connects the Walker Art Center to Loring Park and makes it much easier to move to and from. Because of the convenience, people can move more freely throughout the city and the two parks get visited much more often. Although Garvin's ideas really are quite simple, they are important for growing cities to take into consideration. I think Minneapolis has done a wonderful job of using his theories and it is no coincidence that they have one of the best park systems in America. ...read more.

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