To create Central Park in 1857, New York City used eminent domain to clear off about 1,600 people who lived on the site. These days, cities generally must find other ways to insert public open space into the urban fabric. In many cases, that means ripping up parking lots or cleaning up old industrial sites.
The following ten projects, all completed in the past five years, represent innovative strategies for creating urban breathing spaces, providing residents with opportunities to commune with nature, gather, play, and reflect. From unconventional approaches to handling contaminated water or soil to the incorporation of large works of public art and dramatic lighting and the leveraging of innovative public/private partnerships, these parks exemplify the creativity needed to bring respite to city dwellers’ busy lives. (The ten projects are listed alphabetically, not in any rank order.)