Urban Park Designs Influence the Health of City Residents

Urban Park Designs Influence the Health of City Residents

Parks in cities are more than just pretty places to sit and relax.  They have positive effects on community health. The design of a park “plays a crucial role in how much it is used and, therefore, what level of impact it can make” on community residents.

Jeff Caldwell from UrbDeZine Chicago decided to examine various designs and forms of urban parks, which all have positive effects on the community’s health.

Minneapolis/St.Paul has a park that is includes five different lakes, called the Chain of Lakes. This park encourages residents to be physically active in more than one outdoor activity. The Wissahickon Park in Philadelphia improves residents’ health by keeping the water clean. The park “absorb[s] and clean[s] the polluted run-off water from surfaces before it can hit the waterway.” Lincoln Park in Chicago is designed to include different features that “draw different races and ethnicities” to the park. Groups of people have different preferences in what they like in parks and types of activities in which they want to participate. Ruff House Dog Park in Richmond provides space for dog lovers to be active with their dogs. And finally, Caldwell focuses on Portland, Oregon. Portland has about 10,000 acres of parkland in the city. The city truly prioritizes parks and benefits they provide for community members.

Caldwell shows us that there are many park forms but they all have something in common: they help us improve our health and well-being. Providing open park space in the White Flint sector is important to us, which is why we continue to advocate for the Wall Park development.

Rebecca Hertz


Rebecca Hertz is the Assistant Executive Director of Friends of White Flint. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in International Development and Social Change from Clark University, Worcester Massachusetts in 2012. She completed her Master’s Degree from Clark University, as well, in Community Development and Planning in 2013. She is interested in how built environments impact the health and growth of communities. Prior to this role, she worked as a youth worker and mentor for several non-profit organizations in Maryland and Massachusetts. She grew up in Rockville, MD and has recently moved back to the region.

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