London in particular is blessed with wonderful parks, all tended and cared for by dedicated teams of gardeners. The parks are a welcome break from the traffic fumes and hustle of the streets, provide exercise for our four legged friends, stage concerts and events, have ponds and lakes which provide habitats for birdlife and other small mammals, recreation areas for children and tennis courts amongst other activities that take place.
Having just returned from New York in the sweltering heat of Summer ( yes they have a summer there!), I took a walk round some of Central Park in areas I had never visited before and was quite amazed by the contrast of landscape that it offers let alone the wildlife. In one area I felt I could almost be in the the Canadian Rockies- well not quite, but the views were quite spectacular. I saw the most amazing red bird, a Cardinal feeding it's young and wonderful Crape Myrtle trees in full pink bloom.
The park was buzzing with activity, round every corner there seemed to be a Japanese Bride having pictures taken! I kept thinking it was the same bride however, there was a different groom each time!
The park breathes life into a very busy city and a free concert was taking place on one side, boating on another, people jogging, or walking just enjoying the scenery. This park is more than a green space , it offers activities that bring communities together and refreshes the soul. It helps people connect with the landscape and increase their awareness of it.
In another part of town, I am not sure you can call the High Line a park but this old disused railway has brought life and greenery to an otherwise smelly run down area of the city. People stroll through lovely prairie style planting high up away from the traffic below, relax on recliners built into the structure. Lay on grassy areas, sip coffee at little bistro tables dotted around the place whilst the sound of birds and crickets help to drown out the car horns. Water gently flows in some areas which refreshes tired feet.
Indeed, having parks that people can enjoy in cities is vital for regenerating areas and attracting the public to connect with a district. Nature is a great way of bringing communities together and we should value them and encourage councils to preserve and create more. We should also value those that keep them looking good for us to enjoy. Without parks, cities would be lacking any soul and be a lot worse off.
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