“This is in an area that didn’t have many parks,” she
said. “We’ve inherently known that parks add to the
quality of life for the last 100 years. But what’s interesting to me is that in the last five to 10 years, research
that shows the benefit of parks has really blossomed.
So you’re seeing a second wave of great park building.
Planners are looking at communities in a much more
She said urban planners include green spaces — in
addition to schools, libraries, transportation and
jobs — when they talk about healthy communities.
In Chicago, she said roughly 80,000 people live within a
10-minute walk of the trail. More than 20,000 children
attend dozens of schools close to the 606 and she hopes
educators will create lessons that will link students to
nature via the Bloomingdale Trail. She said more than
50,000 people attended the opening celebration and
thousands now use it on a daily basis.
“Parks are now one of the building blocks for communities because they give people a place to be outside
for both physical and psychological benefits, which are
enormous,” she said. “There are economic benefits, too,
because people like to live near parks. That’s why public
spaces are being inserted into communities all over the
country. They range from little pocket parks to what
Parks are one of the building
blocks for communities.
we are doing in Seattle, which is a 26-mile-long trail system that goes through three counties.”
In Dallas, the transformation of a former freeway into
an innovative green space has been described as creating
a “natural landscape that heals the urban fabric of the
city.” It’s a conversion that has been years in the making.
Planning for the Klyde Warren Park began more than
a decade ago, said Peter Bratt, a manager in the Dallas
“Fortunately, when the freeway was built in the 1970s,
they put it below grade, so capping seemed like something
we could do,” he said. “A group called the Real Estate
Council got things going with a grant of $1 million to see
if a deck park was possible and then other folks chipped
in, including Texas Capital Bank with another $1 million”
He said the total budget for the park was $110 million.
The city and the state Department of Transportation both
put in $10 million, another $16.7 came from the federal Stimulus Program and the remainder came from the
private donors. Oil magnate and Dallas resident Kelcy
Photo by Ben Dunham
Courtesy of USDA;
photos by Lance Cheung