Reference Entry

Parks in the United States

Alan Tate

in Oxford Art Online


Published online February 2011 | e-ISBN: 9781884446054 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/gao/9781884446054.article.T2090706

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City parks are areas of land specifically allocated for public recreation. The word ‘park’ was originally used to define enclosed pieces of land stocked with wild animals and managed for hunting purposes. Parks such as the Tiergarten in Berlin, the Bois de Boulogne in Paris, and the Royal Parks in London were established as royal preserves in or adjacent to capital cities. Informal public access to the London parks was allowed from the early 17th century.

Boston Common, established in 1634 as pasture owned in common by the citizens, is the oldest public urban park in North America. The first walkway on the Common was created in 1675 and the first tree-lined pedestrian mall was planted in 1728. Equally, Mount Auburn Cemetery (1831) in Cambridge, MA, and subsequent urban cemeteries of the period, performed many of the functions of a public park. But the 843-acre Central Park (...

Reference Entry.  1043 words. 

Subjects: Landscape Art and Architecture ; Public Art, Land Art, and Environmental Art ; Art of the United States

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