The world’s top 5 parks

Parks are our cities’ living rooms. They reflect our social and cultural identities. Great parks and open spaces are vital for sustaining healthy city life: they keep our cities cool, help people connect and ensure that nature is a part of daily urban life.

We gave Sacha Coles, one of Australia’s leading urban designers, the impossible task of naming the best five parks in the world. He selected five parks that symbolise the social and cultural life of their cities and have a diversity of uses that have stood the test of time in densifying environments.

1.	Central Park, New York: Possibly the most iconic of all, Central Park is a symbol of New York City itself. Created in 1857, it was the first park to be designed entirely with public use in mind. Despite being visited by millions of visitors each year, Central Park is most importantly part of New Yorkers’ daily lives. The park is clearly defined within the city street grid and allows for an incredible variety of uses in all seasons, including concerts, sports, picnicking and dog walking. It provides a welcome respite from the pace of New York City.

1. Central Park, New York

Possibly the most iconic of all, Central Park is a symbol of New York City itself. Created in 1857, it was the first park to be designed entirely with public use in mind. Despite being visited by millions of visitors each year, Central Park is most importantly part of New Yorkers’ daily lives. The park is clearly defined within the city street grid and allows for an incredible variety of uses in all seasons, including concerts, sports, picnicking and dog walking. It provides a welcome respite from the pace of New York City.
2.	Tiergarten, Berlin: Tiergarten has withheld dramatic change over 500 years, representing Berlin’s unique history, culture, politics and diversity. It sits above Berlin’s complex crisscross of subway and roads and acts as a gigantic roundabout for the city’s bike path system. The presence of civic buildings and cultural monuments reinforces the public character of the park. All at once, Tiergardten is a place for marathons, rallies, speeches, museums, libraries, the opera house; and is used every day by people from all walks of life – families, cyclists, visitors and even nudists.

2. Tiergarten, Berlin

Tiergarten has withheld dramatic change over 500 years, representing Berlin’s unique history, culture, politics and diversity. It sits above Berlin’s complex crisscross of subway and roads and acts as a gigantic roundabout for the city’s bike path system. The presence of civic buildings and cultural monuments reinforces the public character of the park. All at once, Tiergardten is a place for marathons, rallies, speeches, museums, libraries, the opera house; and is used every day by people from all walks of life – families, cyclists, visitors and even nudists.

3.	Landschaftspark, Duisburg-Nord: Landschaftspark is a model for the transformation of isolated, industrial sites into sustainable and creative public spaces. The park is divided into different areas, connected by a series of walkways and waterways, which were placed according to the old railway and sewer systems. Concert venues and climbing walls have been formed out of the steel frames of old factories and furnaces. Landschaftspark represents an understanding of the historical significance of its industrial past, rather than trying to reject it.

3. Landschaftspark, Duisburg-Nord

Landschaftspark is a model for the transformation of isolated, industrial sites into sustainable and creative public spaces. The park is divided into different areas, connected by a series of walkways and waterways, which were placed according to the old railway and sewer systems. Concert venues and climbing walls have been formed out of the steel frames of old factories and furnaces. Landschaftspark represents an understanding of the historical significance of its industrial past, rather than trying to reject it.
4.	Fuxing Park, Shanghai: Fuxing Park is located in the French Concession of Shanghai, one of the densest cities in the world. It is a grand park in the European tradition, with a lake, fountains, covered pavilions and flowerbeds. In the early morning, the park is full of dancers, mahjong players and people doing Tai Chi. You can find grandmothers singing Chinese opera, and Mao-suited men taking caged birds for a walk.

 4. Fuxing Park, Shanghai

Fuxing Park is located in the French Concession of Shanghai, one of the densest cities in the world. It is a grand park in the European tradition, with a lake, fountains, covered pavilions and flowerbeds. In the early morning, the park is full of dancers, mahjong players and people doing Tai Chi. You can find grandmothers singing Chinese opera, and Mao-suited men taking caged birds for a walk.

5.	Centennial Park, Sydney: One of Sydney’s oldest and most loved parks, Centennial Park, was dedicated in the 1800’s as a people’s park forever, on land originally set aside by Governor Lachlan Macquarie for grazing and watering stock. The park includes ornamental gardens, wild native forests, ponds, grand avenues, statues, heritage buildings and sporting fields. It is used by walkers, joggers, roller-bladers, horse riders, picnickers, movie-goers and cyclists. Centennial Park provides the experience of nature at a unique scale within the increasing density of Sydney.

5. Centennial Park, Sydney

One of Sydney’s oldest and most loved parks, Centennial Park, was dedicated in the 1800’s as a people’s park forever, on land originally set aside by Governor Lachlan Macquarie for grazing and watering stock. The park includes ornamental gardens, wild native forests, ponds, grand avenues, statues, heritage buildings and sporting fields. It is used by walkers, joggers, roller-bladers, horse riders, picnickers, movie-goers and cyclists. Centennial Park provides the experience of nature at a unique scale within the increasing density of Sydney.