Public green spaces in bustling cities may have become one of the best indicators for a balanced urban living. More than just parks, these green retreats are the quality spaces where city dwellers reconnect with nature, providing the perfect escape from the crowded streets of the concrete jungle.
Public parks usually offer the calm and peace that is often needed in big cities. These green pockets are more than just lush gardens – they usually feature other attractions such as museums, art galleries, event spaces and more. They are also well equipped with recreational facilities such as playgrounds, gardens, hiking, cycling and walking trails, exercise and fitness equipment, sports arenas and picnic facilities.
Here are some of the best public parks in the world:
Central Park, New York
Known as the heart of Manhattan and NYC’s backyard, Central Park may be the most iconic city park in the world. This urban playground is New Yorkers’ most favourite escape and hosts millions of visitors every year. This 843-acre woodland offers endless excitement for everyone: baseball parks, rollerblading, forest walks, cycling, and more. The park’s more popular spots include the 15-acre Sheep Meadow and the famous Central Park Zoo. Other attractions include the Central Park Carousel, the Water Exhibit at Belvedere Castle and summertime storytelling at the foot of the Hans Christian Anderson statue. The park was created by designers Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux, the winners of a public landscape design competition launched in 1857. The first section of Central Park opened to the public in the winter of 1858.
Ibirapuera Park, São Paulo
Boasting over two million square-metres of luxurious green space, this inner-city park was officially opened in 1954 to mark the 400th anniversary of the city of Sao Paulo. Designed by the famous Brazilian landscape artist and botanist Robert Burle Marx and architect Oscar Niemeyer, Ibirapuera Park is often compared to New York’s Central Park for its grand design and lush vegetation. The park is also home to a few more attractions, including the Museum of Modern Art and the iconic white-domed Oca, a flying saucer-shaped hall which houses temporary art exhibits. Other attractions include the Ibirapuera Planetarium and the Ibirapuera Auditorium. For recreational activities, visitors can choose from the many facilities such as children’s playgrounds, cycle paths, a roller-skating rink, jogging trails or a lazy picnic by the lake. The park also offers the Bosque de Leitura, a free open air library that lets visitors borrow books and magazines to read at the park.
Lumpini Park, Bangkok
Right in the heart of the city, Lumpini Park is juxtaposed against the glimmering Bangkok city skyscrapers. Created under the royal commission by King Rama VI in 1925, this 145-acre site was named after Nepal’s Lumpini District, the birthplace of Buddha. This magnificently calming green park features a Chinese clock tower at the heart of the park, along with ornamental lakes, jogging trails, playgrounds and a public library. In ensuring the mindfulness and maintaining the serenity of the park, visitors are not allowed to smoke, play football or bring pets to the site. Here, visitors can wind down and enjoy group Tai Chi sessions or rent a paddleboat to explore the artificial lake. Other facilities also include a curated bamboo garden, swimming pool and open-air gymnasium. During the dry season from February until April, the park hosts Music in the Park, a weekly al fresco concerts and classical music performances.
Regent’s Park, London
Formerly a royal hunting ground, this 410-acre oasis is made of two circular parts, the Inner and Outer Circle. In 1811, the Prince Regent (later King George IV) commissioned the architect John Nash to transform the existing forest land in order to improve London’s image and fashion a park for his people. The park was opened for public in 1835 and became home to the Zoological Society and the Royal Botanic Society. In 1847, Regent’s Park opened another major attraction, the London Zoo which remains until today. Other attractions include a boating lake for rowing and pedal boats, outdoor café with a large waterside terrace seating, an open-air theatre, a bandstand and a large sports field.
TRX High Park, Kuala Lumpur
Dubbed as the oasis in the city, the upcoming TRX High Park sits atop of the district’s lifestyle precinct, The Exchange TRX. This 10-acre elevated park is the city’s latest green sanctuary which will preserve the natural local flora and showcase the lush tropical diversity. The softscape elements of this rooftop garden and the numerous interweaving pocket parks around the development provide easy and convenient pedestrian movements throughout the district, presenting opportunities for outdoor activities. TRX meticulously integrates its green spaces with everyday requirements crafting shade and natural cooling methods suitable for the hot and humid tropics, creating a true connection between city, people and nature. Mechanical infrastructure is concealed by garden terraces that are animated by diverse and layered planting to create a cascading flow of greenery. Improved thermal comfort is achieved through a high tree canopy cover combined with water features and a series of bespoke steel shade structures.
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