Why small parks matter

Ann Forsyth, Laura Musacchio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


We've all seen them: public parks and other publicly accessible green spaces measuring less than five to six acres - or one city block - in size. Many are equipped with a standard array of play structures, lawn, trees, and benches. Others line trails and waterways. Some are the signature elements in new subdivisions, and still others take the form of leftover spaces, remnant ecosystems, and undevelopable land. However, with the exceptions of downtown parks such as San Francisco's Grant Park and Manhattan's Bryant Park, small parks are typically known only to nearby residents. They are part of the daily pattern of life, not major icons. Whatever form they take, small parks are common in small towns and large metropolitan areas alike, providing recreational and open space for millions of people nationwide. From improving water and air quality to providing activities for immigrant seniors and low-income youth, small parks are a community asset. They help the ecology, and they help people. However, their very size puts them at a disadvantage. Small parks rarely attract major investment, particularly when they are being redesigned. Faced with the choice of lavishing planning and design funds on a regional park or a series of small neighborhood parks, most agencies spend their money on the showcases - the large parks with hundreds of acres. That is something we would like to change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-35
Number of pages4
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 2005


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