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Old 01-21-2013, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
1,537 posts, read 1,036,733 times
Reputation: 1507
Quote:
Originally Posted by rotodome View Post
I hate having this argument, because it always comes across like I'm trying to bash the park. But that is not my intention.
Because I love the park, and care about it a lot.
I just hate misinformation, and particularly false facts like these that are so often used to put a feelgood gloss over the awful conditions at the park.

This article is actually highlighting and bringing attention to some of the park's issues, and I appreciate that.
It's a great park, but away from the river drives it needs a LOT of work.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:35 PM
 
187 posts, read 140,084 times
Reputation: 77
Rotodome,

I've tracked down a few of your posts on the subject - I am not going to repost them but they are here and here for those who are curious. I think we all can agree is that (a) Philadelphia doesn't have the largest amount of parkland in the US and (b) Philadelphia doesn't have the largest single park in the US.

My questions to you or anyone else are:

1. What single urban landscaped parks are bigger than Fairmount Park East/West? Surely these are several thousand acres even excluding Wissahickon if that was included in the 4100 acre number. Griffith Park in LA is larger but parts of it are completely unlandscaped so I'm not sure it would qualify. Pelham Bay Park in NYC, which you also mentioned and is also larger, is I believe just a nature preserve.

2. Do you know of any city that has more landscaped parkland within its urban park system? Assume Philadelphia has 4,100, which maybe would include the Center City squares, FDR Park, Fairmount Park East/West, but not places like the Wissahickon and Pennypack Creek. Do you know of any city with more landscaped parkland than that?

Not trying to challenge you, but just trying to understand the complete situation. I'm not sure that all of Fairmount Park East/West is technically "landscaped" whatever that even means. Also, I can see the point about them not being contiguous because of the river.
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:46 PM
 
187 posts, read 140,084 times
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Follow up to my prior post, I think that the answer to #2 would be New York City if you included places like Central Park, Van Cortland Park, Prospect Park and various other places like that.

Also, the Fairmount Park Conservancy website indicates that Fairmount Park includes 10,200 acres of parkland (over 10% of the city's land) and 5,600 of that is "natural areas." So 4,600 acres might be the number for all landscaped urban parkland within the city.
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Old 01-22-2013, 11:22 AM
 
Location: NYC
2,673 posts, read 2,056,461 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scosm View Post
Follow up to my prior post, I think that the answer to #2 would be New York City if you included places like Central Park, Van Cortland Park, Prospect Park and various other places like that.

Also, the Fairmount Park Conservancy website indicates that Fairmount Park includes 10,200 acres of parkland (over 10% of the city's land) and 5,600 of that is "natural areas." So 4,600 acres might be the number for all landscaped urban parkland within the city.
Well, I think it's pretty hard to get concrete facts on this stuff, because no one really ever measures these things on a consistent basis across different cities.

It's easy for me to say that Philly's is not the biggest, only because I know of examples that are bigger, but I don't know for a fact what the actual biggest is. I make a lot of comparisons to the NYC system for argument's sake only because I'm very familiar with it, and so it's easy for me to do. But I don't have nearly as much familiarity with all the other various parks systems in the US to speak with confidence about them.

As per #2, I don't know that NYC has THE largest amount of landscaped park area in the nation. I think it's pretty safe to say that it has more than Philadelphia, only because if you take the total amount of parkland in the NY municipal parks system (~28,000 acres), take away the parts that are obviously un-landscaped like portions of Pelham Bay Park, the Staten Island Greenway, Forest Park, etc ,you're still left with more than the entire Fairmount Parks system including its unlandscaped areas.

I think that largest 100% landscaped single contiguous park in the NYC system would be Fresh Kills park. That park is the result of a landscape design competition to transform a huge area of former landfill to a park, and so is a total act of landscape design. Even more so than the various Olmsted parks in the city which generally incorporated a few areas of the existing landscape into their design. The Fresh Kills competition was won, and the park designed by the same Landscape Architecture firm that did the Highline Park (James Corner Field Operations).
One thing of note to this forum is that JCFO was Philadelphia based at the time they did that design (although they subsequently moved their offices completely to NYC as Fresh Kills and the Highline went into construction).
At 2,200 acres, Fresh Kills Park is similarly sized to 'Fairmount Park Proper' IF you take away the non-landscaped Wissahickon Valley. If you include the water acreage of the Schuylkill river itself, and consider East and West parks to be contiguous, and include the Zoo, then Fairmount Park Proper would be slightly larger.
Pelham Bay park is of course the largest single contiguous park in NYC, at 2700 acres, but as you noted, it is only partially landscaped, and other parts are natural.
But as I said, I don't know for a fact that there is a larger 100% landscaped park anywhere else in the country.

So there certainly may be a way to game the numbers and definitions to make a claim for Fairmount Park proper being "the largest urban mostly landscaped cluster of adjacent municipal parkland in the USA" or something like that. But that's probably true for a bunch of other places as well.

What I care about is that people don't think you can just stop there and think that the Fairmount parks system is great, or superlative. To me, saying "Philadelphia has an amazing parks system, because hey look it has the largest XYZ nitpicky definition park in the XYZ cherrypicked categorization" is kind of bogus, when the amount that the parks system has been neglected and allowed to fall apart should IMO be a source of shame and anger, not pride. Philadelphia does not deserve a "great" parks system if it puts so little effort and resources into having one.
That OP article lays this out pretty well. It's totally crazy that Philly spends less than half of what Cincinatti spends on its parks. (No offense to Cincinatti, but I am a bit biased)

The Wissahickon is still a gem, but it's fallen into noticeably a lot more disrepair in the past couple of decades. It's depressing. Even un-landscaped parks require a lot of care and maintenance if we want to keep them. IMO If Philadelphia wants to be a truly great city, it needs to tend to the things that can make it truly uniquely great. And the parks are one of those things. They affect people's lives on a daily basis so much more than any new generic skyscraper ever could, but are not prioritized nearly as much.
I hope that at some point (soon) the parks become a greater focus for the city and its residents. Snowjobs like "Hey I heard we've got the largest park in the USA" or whatever don't help this happen any faster, though. And so I try to nip those in the bud whenever I can.

Last edited by rotodome; 01-22-2013 at 12:04 PM.. Reason: typos
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Old 01-22-2013, 03:56 PM
 
187 posts, read 140,084 times
Reputation: 77
I understand what you are saying. I'm not going to say Philly has the largest park anything again

Quote:
Originally Posted by rotodome View Post
What I care about is that people don't think you can just stop there and think that the Fairmount parks system is great, or superlative. To me, saying "Philadelphia has an amazing parks system, because hey look it has the largest XYZ nitpicky definition park in the XYZ cherrypicked categorization" is kind of bogus, when the amount that the parks system has been neglected and allowed to fall apart should IMO be a source of shame and anger, not pride. Philadelphia does not deserve a "great" parks system if it puts so little effort and resources into having one.
That OP article lays this out pretty well. It's totally crazy that Philly spends less than half of what Cincinatti spends on its parks. (No offense to Cincinatti, but I am a bit biased)
Regarding this statistic (that Philly spends $64 on parks and rec facilities per person while San Fran spends $280 and Cincinnati spends $156), I wonder if the figures that lead us to believe that Philadelphia spends less than half of what Cincinnati does is misleading. Specifically, I think that a lot of the capital projects come from outside of the parks and rec department. For example, an early 18th Century house is being rehabbed and the money is coming from the "City's Capital Budget" according to this article. Also, the Schuylkyll Banks construction is funded largely through grants, I believe, and I'm not sure if the Schuylkyll Banks operating budget would be included in the figure cited in the article in the original post. Of course other cities get grants too - I think the picture might be cloudier than the parks and rec budget indicate.
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Old 01-22-2013, 04:08 PM
 
Location: NYC
2,673 posts, read 2,056,461 times
Reputation: 1512
One thing that article mentions is how the Fairmount Park Commission, which had long been semi-autonomous, was recently folded into the Dept of Parks & Recreation. I think this is a bad move for the already troubled parks system, as now it's more directly competing for dollars in the city's operating budget, and can more easily be categorically slashed or otherwise implicated in City budget shenanigans. And any money meant to be allocated to the park would actually get allocated to the already underfunded Parks & Rec and thereby be more diluted and tied up with yet more city administration.
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Old 01-24-2013, 12:29 PM
 
94 posts, read 132,149 times
Reputation: 30
Re: Cincinnati parks and tree program:
The Street Tree program has been operating since 1981 with funding through an annual urban forestry assessment. Cincinnati City Council levies the assessment at the rate of 18 cents per linear foot on all property which abuts a public right-of-way within the city. This appears on Cincinnati property owner's January tax bill. State law restricts this money so that it can only be used for the street tree program; it cannot be spent on any other City program or service.

taken from : Urban Forestry
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