Public Parks

The Key to Livable Communities

Alexander Garvin (Author)


Everything that landscape architects, architects, planners, civic officials, and citizen activists need to know about the critical urban role of public parks.

Everything that anybody (whether they are citizen activists, or public officials, or professional landscape architects, architects, and planners) needs to know about the critical role public parks play in creating livable communities. Millions of dollars are being spent on restoring parks and creating new ones. Planner Alexander Garvin explains the rationales for their existence, the forms they take, their value, ways to pay for and govern them, and the ingredients that make successful parks, providing the first single definitive source of wisdom about them.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • November 2010
  • ISBN 978-0-393-73279-5
  • 8.4 × 11.3 in / 224 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“Garvin provides a great resource to professionals in the park and city planning, design and management realms, as well as to citizen activists and civic officials . . . . [A] 'user's manual' for how to develop, design and manage parks, from 'Site Selection' to 'Finance and Governance'—two of 12 chapters that are replete with examples and beautiful color photos taken (mostly) by Garvin himself.” — The Nature of Cities

“This book offers those involved with park planning a firm grounding in park history and an opportunity to get excited about the possibilities for the future. Knowing where parks came from is an important step in understanding where they can go from here. . . . [U]seful for students, designers, planners, and citizen groups looking for a solid background in the history of parks and the park development process.” — Journal of Planning Education and Research

“…an excellent book…the quality of human life that parks allow is celebrated in this book. Recommended.” — CHOICE

“All planning books should be this much fun to read.” — Planning Magazine

“Garvin's Public Parks provides a comprehensive overview of why parks are important and how to sustain their existence. His insights and narratives will be useful for politicians, designers, planners, and, of course, the general public.” — UrbanLand Magazine

“[A]n attractive, useful and enjoyable assembly of history, analysis and case studies. . . . [W]ell illustrated…beautifully designed and produced.” — Urban Design

“Encyclopedic style, beautifully presented book…methodically detailed…If you are a traveler who enjoys all of what America has to offer or just a curious observer, Public Parks is a wonderful book to own, read, and enjoy.” — Portland Book Review

“This book contains everything that almost anyone (citizen activists, public officials, professional landscape architects, architects, and planners) needs to know about the critical role public parks play in creating livable communities.” — The Statement

“[S]ets the standard for urban park theory and design.” — Book News

“Public parks are not a frill, but essential to the idea of community and, even more, to the idea of democracy. In this thorough, erudite, and civilizing work, the planner Alexander Garvin explains how parks came to be, how they are quite literally the common ground our culture seeks, and how the design of public parks can affect urban well-being.” — Paul Goldberger, architecture critic

“As cities explode exponentially or implode dramatically, the quality of the public realm will become increasingly significant to social well-being in the 21st century. More than ever before, public parks have the potential to humanize our existence in the contemporary urban world. The authoritative voice of Alex Garvin opens our eyes to what it takes to create great parks—how to design, finance, manage, and behave in them. Anyone who loves cities will applaud the lessons of this heroic book, that a good public park is at the heart of a democratic, sustainable society.” — Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies, London School of Economics

“I’ve been relying on the wonderful Public Parks for all sorts of fantastic advice (the Stewardship and Finance and Governance Chapters have been life-savers)... My students have also enjoyed reading the book.” — Andrew Silver, Page Morton Hunter Associate Professor of English, Mercer University

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