China is spawning the greatest wave of urbanization the world has ever seen. By 2030 China will have 200 cities with populations of a million-plus. It already has sixty of them (compared to the U.S. with only ten). But will these burgeoning cities have enduring appeal?
Much depends on the quality of their public open space says Cities with Heart. When open space is abundant, well designed, and well maintained, people want to return to it again and again. Cities that offer this experience hold a special place in our imagination. Think of cities with iconic open spaces—New York with its Central Park, Paris with its Tuileries and Luxembourg Gardens, London with its Hyde Park, and Chicago with its Millennium Park. These are cities with heart. If China’s new cities are to take their place alongside the great cities of the world, they will need to provide equally compelling open spaces. If China’s leaders want to promote human wellness in all its forms, they will need to ensure that these new cities offer an abundance of open space that is planned, designed, and managed to world-class standards.
In Cities with Heart readers will explore the leading examples of urban open space across the globe. They will find answers to critical questions. Why does open space excellence matter now more than ever before? What are time-tested principles of urban open space planning and design? What are the new principles of sustainability—not only environmental, but also economic and social sustainability? What are the guidelines for designing civic plazas, downtown parks, large parks, greenway corridors, and neighborhood parks? What specific recreational activities for children, adults, and seniors should be accommodated in each? What can inspire truly innovative design? Through answers to these questions and more, Cities with Heart presents the essential elements of urban open space design for the next level of excellence.
This book is for everyone who cares about the future of China’s cities. It will help practitioners, students, and concerned citizens envision the urban open space they aspire to. It gives them the tools they need to participate constructively in the planning and design process. If this book inspires some readers to make a difference in how cities provide the best in urban open space, then it will have truly done its job. This profusely illustrated book speaks to the heart about what is in the heart of the city.