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Urban Open Space

The interest in sanitation dovetailed with another preoccupation of nineteenth-century planners, namely the provision of urban parkland. In an analogy that was used at the time, just as good ventilation would make a house a healthier house, so too would parkland serve to ventilate a city. Many splendid examples of municipal park design date from the midnineteenth century. New York's Central Park, designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvin Vaux in 1857, furnished inspiration for parks in many other cities. The park covers a rectangle in Manhattan roughly two-and-a- half miles long by one-half mile wide. Bordered on all sides by dense urban development, it provides the Manhattanite with a beautifully landscaped piece of countryside in town. Across the East River in Brooklyn is a much less well-known but equally fine piece of Olmsted's design work, Prospect Park, with a splendid system of meadows, wooded areas, connecting paths, and two artificial lakes. In the case of both parks, as was true for the parks of many other cities, had these areas not been acquired for public use, they would have soon been covered with a dense carpet of development.

A small part of Olmstead's legacy in Central Park a century- and-a-half later.

Other examples of Olmsted's work in park design may be seen in Buffalo, Chicago, Montreal, Detroit, Boston, Bridgeport, Rochester, Knoxville, and Louisville.

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