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Urban Open Spaces

Helen Woolley

Published by Spon Press, 2003 | ISBN 0419256903

There is enormous interest in urban design and the regeneration of our urban areas, but current thinking often concentrates on the built form, forgetting the important role that open spaces play. Urban Open Spaces brings together extensive research and practical experience to prove the opportunities and benefits of different types of open space to society and individuals.

Focusing on the importance of open spaces in daily urban life, the book is divided into three sections. The first section describes the social, health, environmental and economic benefits and opportunities that open spaces can provide. The second section discusses the different types of urban open spaces that individuals or communities might use on a daily basis: from private gardens to commercial squares and waterway corridors. In the final section of the book sixteen best practice case-studies show how urban spaces are now being incorporated in new developments and community initiatives.

Each case is illustrated in colour and examines the aims and achievements of projects including Victoria Square in Birmingham, Redgates School Sensory Garden in Croydon and Stormont Estate Playpark in Belfast. This is the first book to bring together a variety of evidence from different disciplines to outline the benefits and opportunities of urban open spaces in an accessible way. Not just for students and practitioners, this book will be of value for anyone interested in the design, development, regeneration, funding and use of open spaces in urban areas.


vii Foreword
ix Preface
xi Acknowledgements
1 Urban living
2 What is open space?
3 Urban open spaces

The Benefits and Opportunities of Open Spaces
7 Introduction
Chapter I: Social benefits and opportunities
9 Introduction
10 Children's play
15 Passive recreation
17 Active recreation
19 Active recreation - reduction of incivilities and crime
20 Community focus
22 Cultural focus
23 Open spaces as educational resources
25 Summary
Chapter 2: Health benefits and opportunities
27 Introduction
28 Contribution to physical health - opportunities for exercise
29 The contribution to mental health - restorative effects of nature
31 Wildlife - an experience for people of near nature
33 Aesthetic appreciation
35 Summary
Chapter 3: Environmental benefits and opportunities
36 Introduction
37 Urban climate and environment
39 Amelioration of urban climate and environment
42 Wildlife - opportunities for habitats and human experience
44 Summary
Chapter 4: Economic benefits and opportunities
45 Introduction
45 Impact on property values
48 Employment opportunities
51 Crop production
53 Tourism
53 Summary

Urban Open Spaces - Spaces for All
55 Introduction: open space typologies
55 Spaces for all
Chapter 5: Domestic urban open spaces
57 Introduction
58 Housing
60 Private gardens
62 Community gardens
63 Allotments
Chapter 6: Neighbourhood urban open spaces
66 Introduction
67 Parks
72 Playgrounds
74 Playing fields and sports grounds
76 School playgrounds
78 Streets
82 City farms
83 Incidental spaces and natural green space
Chapter 7: Civic urban open spaces
84 Introduction
87 Commercial
91 Health and education
97 Transport
101 Recreational
Chapter 8: A new deal for urban open spaces?
110 Quality of life - the challenge for sustainable cities
111 Tools and methods for the way forward

Urban Open Spaces - Case Studies
115 Introduction
Neighbourhood and recreational urban open spaces
116 Sherwood, Longsands and Cottam, Preston, Lancashire
119 Northwestern Gardens, Llandudno
123 Stormont Estate Playpark, Belfast, Northern Ireland
127 Redgates School Sensory Garden for Children with Special Educational Needs, Croydon
131 Spring Gardens, Buxton, Derbyshire
134 Stockley GoJf Course, London
Civic urban open spaces
138 Victoria Square, Birmingham
142 The Peace Gardens, Sheffield
146 Edinburgh Park, Edinburgh
150 Mold Community Hospital
153 Heriot-Watt University Riccarton Campus, Edinburgh
157 Curzon Street Courtyard, London
161 Marie Curie “Garden of Hope”, Finchley London
165 Dockside Regeneration at Chatham Maritime
169 Black Country Route Sculptures
173 Victoria Quays, Sheffield Canal Basin
177 References
189 Index