Peter Harnik on creating great urban parks for cities

Urban parks can increase property values, enhance neighborhood identity and provide access to open space within a neighborhood. More and more communities are finding creative ways to integrate parks into urban environments, and Smart Growth America’s Local Leaders Council recently caught up with expert Peter Harnik to learn more about this smart growth strategy.

“We look at parks not just from the perspective of a great park, but how the park can interact with the city and make it great,” says Harnik, who is the Director of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence and member of Smart Growth America Board of Directors. The video interview is part of our Local Leaders Council’s “Meet the Experts” video series, which provides information for local leaders interested in learning more about smart growth strategies.

“Some people feel like, ‘Our city’s all built out so there’s no room for any more parks.’ That’s thinking about parks in the old way of conservation of an old farm or an old forest,” Harnik says in the video above. “But actually most parks are created just the way buildings are created and streets are created and parking lots are created. Parks can also be created as part of redevelopment.”

As more communities use other smart growth strategies, Harnik expects to see an emergence of park-oriented development where parks become the nodes that bring people closer together. “We see parks as being a very key part of the smart growth equation.”

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