The physical types of open space presently designed are astonishingly limited: the swimming beach, the roadside picnic area, the woodland with “nature trails”, the grassed park dotted with trees and shrubbery, comprise the conventional range.
Great civilizations allocate open space to public and non-productive uses. Historically, this has included gardens, temple compounds, ceremonial grounds, outdoor markets, social places, gymnasia for exercise and recreation, burial grounds, hunting and wildlife reserves. All this land is now classified by planners as “public open space”, because the land is accessible and unbuilt. It is a term which ignores the distinction between parks and greenways. Parks are for protection (Fig. 4.1). Greenways are for movement. The reasons for making public open space are multifarious. Lynch, as quoted above, was right to protest that “the physical types of open space presently designed are astonishingly limited”.
Parks take their name from the verb to impark, which means to surround with a hedge, fence or wall. Greenways, as discussed in the second half of this chapter, have characteristics indicated by the two components of the word: the land has environmental quality and it provides a route, for humans, animals or a natural process. Frequently, parks will be patches and greenways will be corridors.
Figure 4.1 Parks are for protection. Greenways are for movement. Both types of space can be public and open.