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Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities (Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design, and Engineering) Hardcover – November 29, 2010

ISBN-13: 978-0393732795 ISBN-10: 0393732797

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Frequently Bought Together

Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities (Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design, and Engineering) + Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities + Rethinking Urban Parks: Public Space and Cultural Diversity
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Editorial Reviews


“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)

“[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)

About the Author

Alexander Garvin heads a planning and design firm and lives in New York. He is an adjunct professor of urban planning and management at Yale University.

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Product Details

  • Series: Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design, and Engineering
  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (November 29, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393732797
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393732795
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 0.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,145,927 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dead Parrot on November 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Public Parks" is a fabulous book, and it is a must-read for all those who are interested in parks from virtually any perspective--be it aesthetic, social, governmental, architectural, technical, recreational, planning, real estate development, or just plain enjoyment. It is extremely well-written, thrillingly insightful, and rewardingly informative.

In this book, Garvin traces the history of the public park--and, in particular, the origin of the concept of the public park--from its precursors in public squares and town greens (which have served some public function from their inception), the private landscaped estates of European nobility and royalty (which were often referred to as parks, and many of which were accessible to the public, but only on special occasions designated by their owners), and the royal gardens or hunting preserves (to which citizens often considered themselves to have rights of access), through the process by which, after the French Revolution, royal properties in France and elsewhere throughout Europe were fully opened to the public as parks (e.g., Jardin des Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg in Paris, the Englische Garden in Munich, and the Royal Parks of London [St.
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Public Parks: The Key to Livable Communities (Norton/Library of Congress Visual Sourcebooks in Architecture, Design, and Engineering)
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