Urban parks play a vital role in social, economic, environmental, and overall well-being of individuals and communities. Open space protect and enhance natural resources, wildlife and biodiversity; thus mitigating climate, air and water pollution, and contributing to the health of ecological systems.
As cities are attracting more residents, green areas are essential for human health and social cohesion. Parks provide spaces for recreation, cultural activities, tourism, education and environmental justice; therefore providing fundamental elements for livable and sustainable cities.
Parks enhance wellbeing by providing space for direct contact with nature and a place for physical activity to increase fitness and reduce obesity. Green areas offer a range of medical benefits including lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, enhanced survival after a heart attack, more rapid recovery from surgery, and lower self-reported stress. In children with attention disorders and in teens with behavioral disorders, contact with nature has resulted in significant improvement (Frumkin, 2001).
Different types of parks provide various activities or park functions:
-Mini-Parks/Pocket Parks are design to serve a small population area. Generally used as children playground or as a passive and aesthetic area.
-Neighborhood Parks, sometimes referred as playground, are considered to be one of the major cohesive elements in neighborhood design.
-Community Parks are designed to provide active recreational facilities for all ages.
-Special Use Parks are considered linear parks/greenbelts, trails, country clubs, school parks, botanical gardens and athletic and community centers.
-Open Space, Reservations, Preserves & Greenways are primarily intended for passive recreational use.