Linear parks

The provision of park space is a hotly contested subject in many of our cities, with local authorities often asking developers to include a minimum percentage of parkland in their schemes, whereas in many places, existing parks remain under constant threat from development.

Is there a way that planners can provide parks that offer significant recreational value, whilst still being compatible with the pressures of modern development? I firmly believe that there is, and that the solution lies in making parks linear, rather than adopting more conventional non-linear shapes. This is because linear parks can provide a significantly greater distance of recreational pathways, when compared to their non-linear equivalents. The additional advantage of linear parks is that they tend to have a much greater amount of frontage relative to their surface area, meaning that more properties can overlook them, thus increasing developer return.

Whilst linear parks can always incorporate facilities such as sports pitches where space allows, their real advantage comes from their ability to provide long green corridors, which are ideal for recreational uses, ranging from the simple act of dog walking, through roller-skating and skateboarding up to cycling and related activities.

The real additional advantage of linear parks is that as well as offering a recreational use, long green corridors can also provide really useful transport connections, because they are completely free of motor traffic, and they are therefore ideal for users of all ages and abilities.

Linear parks are perhaps best understood where they take advantage of the chance to reuse an existing green corridor, often using old railways or canal tow paths. Yet they can also form a really useful part of new housing developments, especially where they can help new houses plug in to existing parks and other green space. When combined with filtered permeability measures that make local streets more attractive, linear parks can help to create entire neighbourhoods which are protected from dangerous through traffic. In busy city locations, they can be an excellent complement to the provision of cycle paths along trunk roads.

I can work with developers to establish desire lines across project locations, so that linear parks can be integrated with new houses and other buildings. If you would like further information about working with linear parks, please use the contact form on the right.