Open Space Now More than Just Flower Beds

Creating a Garden Oasis in the City - The New York Times

When communities include parks and open space within their boundaries, residents and home buyers quickly recognize the value added by such amenities. By reserving and dedicating a portion of land in a community for outdoor activities and cultural enrichment, overall quality of life is enhanced.

Modern public spaces are no longer just carefully maintained flower beds and wide lawns. Today’s open spaces are hubs of activity for all ages and may include everything from public art to adult fitness trails.

Community Hub

Open space should serve as the hub of a community, reports the Calgary Herald. Great public spaces set a community apart, says a community developer.

Many communities take advantage of existing natural features and build around them. Some include trails and a greenbelt along a river or creek. Others build community hubs around a lake or other open spaces such as mahogany homes for sale.

In its Open Space Plan, the City of Calgary cites the top 5 recreational activities as walking, gardening, bicycling, camping and golf. Other popular activities include picnicking, jogging, and day hiking.

Ensured Access

The city plan notes that public interest is increasing in “natural parkland where the right of public access is ensured.” Such areas are environmentally significant and should be protected.

Protection of such areas should include reduced use of pesticides and government policy decisions that lean toward green and sustainable investments and practices.

Accessible to All

With its changing demographic profile, Calgary states the mission of its parks and recreational services is to ensure public spaces are accessible to all, which includes financial, social and geographical accessibility.

The city is committed to developing and sustaining partnerships with private and non-profit organizations to share capital and operational costs, especially where such cooperation would encourage introductory public use and ongoing participation in outdoor and cultural activities.

Open Space Network

In Edmonton, the city has produced a Green Network Strategy aimed at developing a multi-functional, integrated network of open spaces across the city.

More than just an investment in recreation centers and stormwater management projects, a connected system of open spaces promotes healthy living, protects the environment, connects people to each other and creates a sense of place for communities to gather and thrive.

Maintaining Character

At the provincial level, Alberta has declared that it increasingly important for governments to conserve open space and to develop recreational opportunities that maintain the unique character of both rural and urban areas. Open space is an important factor in quality of life and helps preserve the environment.