sunnuntaina, maaliskuuta 08, 2009
The Right to Urban Parks
The version of spring 2008 of the research proposal for my doctoral thesis
What is a park? What is an urban park? What is its function, definition and for what it is being used? Why urban parks? For which purposes have they been created, by whom and for whom? In order to understand the function of urban parks and the relationship between nature and urbanity, work of the founder of the landscape architecture and park planner, Frederick Law Olmsted is studied.
I will study definitions of various forms of parks in the urban context and the history of parks. As there hardly is a one all-embracing definition of their onthology and function, the existence, definition and parks has been a cause for struggle.
Who “owns” the parks? Are they a public good or a luxury? Who use them, for what, when and with whom? Where do the park users live? Are the parks there to be admired, aesthetic objects or do they serve functions for the city?
My central focus will be on the Helsinki Central park as it transgresses the two extreme definitions of urban parks – artificial, deliberately created neighbourhood or “pocket” parks inside the habitation and natural leftovers of rurality between or outside the habited areas. The definitions of parks are in fact different manifestations of the relationship between nature and urbanity. This problematic history will be quite thoroughly studied.
As I am studying different definitions of parks, their use, function and very definition, the question of park politics and power struggles is central in order to understand the essence of parks as urban “goods”. Threaths to the park - past and present are studied. What has come of the past threaths, have the plans been realised? Who has been the initiator in these threats?
An extensive section of history of and conflicts at the Oslo city forest, Oslomarka is included here as it is paradigmatic case of the relationship between nature and city.
The need for/function of urban parks
By being out in the open air, a citizen, the president Thomas Jefferson said, breathes free: he applied this metaphor to the countryside, which he loved (Sennett 1994, 270).
From cities´ point of view, the function of parks is integrative. Parks are – according to Cranz – historically, politically and aesthetically integrative (Cranz 1982, 248-249).
According to Lefebvre (1996, 147), the citizens of cities have several social needs in respect to cities. These needs are conceptualised in dialectic form, and they include:
- need for security/opening
- need for certainty/adventure
- need for the predictable and the unpredictable
- need of similarity/difference
- need of isolation/encounter
- need of independence (solitude)/communication
- need of immediate/long-term prospects
- need for creative activity; the need for information, symbolism, the imaginery and plan
o play, sexuality, physical activities (e.g.sport), creative activity, art, knowledge
These urban needs can not be reduced into exchange value, commerce and profit. These needs – creating time-spaces for social actions and apprehension - can not be directly met by planners, although they can contribute to development of inhabiting and creating time-spaces, yet it requires time (Lefevbre 1996, 149).
According to Lefebvre, the classical humanist notion of urban spaces treats them as finite and monolithic objects, neglecting the aspect of urban planning. The two contrasting approaches to planning are those of a Nietzschean superhumanity, a finished product of planning rationality and the urban society as an oeuvre. (ibid., 149.)
A Lefebvrian experimental utopia is based on the following questions it tries to answer:
- What are and would be the most successful places?
- How can they be discovered?
- According to which criteria?
- What are the times and rhythms of daily life which are inscribed and prescribed in these successful spaces favourable to happiness? (ibid., 151.)
As urban planning can encourage social inclusion (as well as exclusion) and participation in making of urbanity, it requires deliberate, even revolutionary actions to defeat currently dominating planning interests, ideologies and discourse and to take over in defining urbanity. This is only when the city can become an oeuvre as it is the people who essentially make the city. (ibid., 149.) If parks can work as instruments for social control, they also contain a sociality of their own independently of any deliberate planning (Cranz 1982, 240-242).
Richard Sennett maintains that public parks serve same kind of functions that restaurants, pubs and cafeterias used to do as settings for casual encounters, places where people would meet and chat, even make speeches. At restaurants and subsequently at parks, part of the enjoyment is observing people without being too pushy. The difference between those places and public parks is that parks are primarily places for silence, not for making speeches and if one is talking to a stranger in a park, the park provides settings for encounters between strangers even from different social classes. (Sennett 1994, 80-85.) And by doing so, parks do - at least the early city parks - potentially serve a democratic function in towns in the manner Frederick Law Olmsted (1822-1903) had as his ideal when planning his conception of New York Central Park as a public open space.
The creation of the Regent's Park in London, initiated by the future King George IV, planned by John Nash, was based on the analogy of the urban lungs of the city. In connection to the park planning, all traffic was to be excluded from the park. (Sennett 1994, 325-328.) However, the notion that parks function as public open spaces in the cities is a contrafunctional one, according to Jane Jacobs. If the parks are conceived as open spaces, they might in fact promote air pollution . As the Central Park of Helsinki may be an "open space" as it is open to everyone, but it is essentially a forest, not a park in a Jacobsian sense, it can nevertheless operate as the green lungs of the city, providing oxygene and absorbing some of the pollution mainly caused by city traffic. As Jacobs maintains that city parks in their purest form are neighbourhood parks and that the parks' functioning as the green lungs of the city is nonsense (Jacobs 1961, 91), from this notion one wonders whether the Helsinki Central Park is a park at all.
Urban neighbourhood parks are - according to Jacobs - the most generalized form of city parks, representing a "generalised public-yard use" (Jacobs 1961, 91). As Olmsted and many other park protagonists of the 19th century thought that parks would have an uplifting and morally boosting effect on cities, Jacobs thinks that the essence of parks stem from the way the immediate neighbourhood uses and appreciates them (ibid., 95.) A successful park needs to be used by different kinds of people for different purposes at different times, it is not a vacuum between the built masses but it instead adds up to its surroundings an appreciated and a functional element (ibid.).
Parks are not parks if they are not used by people. In order to function properly as successful city parks, they do have to function as a demand good, providing settings for something that is already inherent rather than forging an unnatural element of sociability into locality. As Jacobs concluded, "it is useless to "bring" parks where the people are, if the very reasons for parks' existence is substituted by a park.” (ibid., 101.)"
If a park is unpopular, it may become used by "unwelcome" users, frightening away the other possible users (Jacobs 1961), as the case is with the Kaisaniemi park in Helsinki. The 1930s economical recession had indeed brought about a new “leisure” class, spending much of their time in parks (Cranz 1982, 105). As the more affluent middle class could afford a refuge to the suburbs with more rural pleasures, the parks became domains of the poor. The “non-use” or misuse of parks, referring to the undesirable users of parks is often connected to criminality, causing avoidance of parks. (Cranz 1982, 137; 186; 220.)
However, a neighbourhood parks suffers if it is "too" popular, according to Jacobs (ibid., 102), perhaps maintaing that the very popularity is contradictory to the calming effects of a park. As Olmsted had an educational idea about his parks, meaning that parks would educate people from different social classes to tolerance and co-operation, Jacobs thinks that this aimed diversity represents a problem (Jacobs 1961, ). However, in Finland the class divide is not that evident.
As a park may act as an important identity factor for its surroundings, this again stems from the notion of them being appreciated and used. For instance, Harlem has a wealthy amount of parks compared to most parts of New York, but still the parks of Harlem hardly function as centers of its social life or essential identity factors (ibid.). Olmsted maintained that parks could serve as the essential signature features, the prides of any major city; he with his assistant Calvert Vaux always saw parks as an integral element of the towns rather than isolated entities, this being most tellingly described here:
"We regard Brooklyn as an integral part of what today is the metropolis of the nation, and in the future will be the center of exchanges in the world, and the park in Brooklyn, as part of a system of grounds, of which the Central Park is a single feature, designed for the recreration of the whole people of the metropolis and their customers and guests from all parts of the world for centuries to come" (L. Hall 1995, 155-156).
As the essence of the parks is to be used by the public, Jacobs mentions the Gravery Park in New York as an example of a park to be observed, not used. As the park is locked and can only be entered with a key, it becomes justified by its beauty. Jacobs maintains that parks that are to be used mainly to please the eye, are best small and intensive in their layout, not
perfunctory and spread. (Jacobs 1961, 107.)
If a park is not popularly "enough" used as a multiple use neighbourhood park, Jacobs suggests that diversity of using purposes must be deliberately brought to the parks by introducing such activities into them that are otherwise crowded out of cities, such as bike mending, fishing or kite flying. Providing various kind of park activities as demand goods could contribute to the parks’ functioning as essential parts of the city, as a service provided by the municipality. When Olmsted thought that magnificent landscapes and vistas are demand goods in themselves, Jacobs maintains that not many enough people appreciate these as they need activities. If converting life of city people into park does not succeed, the park should be converted into a special theme “sub” park. (ibid., 108-110.)
What constitutes a park?
What is a park? What are the necessary minimum conditions for a park? Which kind of functions it is about to serve?
According to a simplification by Cranz, there are three basic visions of parks, their functions and their onthology. A naive vision of park implies that they are mere plots of (unused) and thus preserved land, being manifestations of democracy as they are free for anyone. Parks can be considered works of art, aesthetic objects. Then, parks can be containers of moral and social (reformist) ideals, as the case was with the idealist ideology behind the Olmsted Central Park in New York. (Cranz 1982, 253.)
According to Jacobs, the four elements essential to successful public parks are those of intricacy, centering, sun and enclosure. By intricacy Jacobs means the principle of multiple use: parks should be used by different persons, for different purposes and at different times. Even the same user might use the park for different purposes at different times. By centering Jacobs means that there usually is a focus of actions and encounters in parks, perhaps a
crossroads, a pausing point, a climax. In neighbourhood parks these centres may be stage settings for activities for and encounters of people, according to Jacobs. While the sunlight is essential for parks if conceived as public open spaces, then a city forest, such as the Central Park of Helsinki provides the shade, although the altering of sun and shade are frequent elements in any park. Finally, the parks represent an open space between the buildings, but
without any buildings they would be indefinite. The buildings enclose the park, if they are not too high and provide too much shade, attaching the park to the city both functionally and locationally. (Jacobs 1961, 103-106.)
City forests: defined by Oslomarka
Definition of a large forest (or a city forest) (according to Oraug et al 1974, 111-112):
1) It consists of oaks, spruces and deciduous trees in-between
2) It has thousands of trees
3) It is so large in area that people can go around in there (kan gå seg vill der)
4) It is natural
5) It has a mental importance
6) It is the home of animals
In general, it is a natural, non-regulated, closed space, wild and harmonious. The Oslomarka forest is unique in the way it brings nature to a city, being a paradigmatic example of city forests.
Oslomarka (or just Marka) is the common name for the surrounding forestal areas of greater habited Oslo ”de sammenhengende skogområdene som omgir tettbebyggelsen i Oslo-regionen”. Oslomarka consists of Vestmarka, Bærumsmarka, Krokskogen, Nordmarka, Lillomarka, Romeriksåsene, østmarka or Sørmarka. Also Sørkedalen and Maridalen are counted as Marka. (ibid., 11.)
The concept of Nordmarka was first used in 1760 in a map produced by the lieutenant Morten Krogh (Moland 2006, 5). The notable feature of Nordmarka is the presence of water. The forests, lakes and rivers were earlier owned by the private landowners. (ibid., 49.)
The "marka" has become a part of the city's soul and a main source of its pride. As Hans Amundsen said, "vi betrakter Oslomarka som vårt felleseie. Og deltakerne i den store utfarten opptrer stort sett forstandig. Enkelte utskeielser kan forekomme og må bekjempes. Vi skal verne skogen og bevare den, ikke vandalisere den, ikke herje og skjemme ut. Frilufstlivets oppdragende betydning skal vise seg i måten vi farer fram på. Vi skader oss selv ved å skade skogen. Den skal gå over til etterslekten akkurat så skjønn og rik som den nå er. Skogen for folket".
One striking and essential feature of the forest landscape is that is perceived as stable, not-changing. The aspects associated with Marka in a 1938 survey were: original, stable, wild, desolate, lonesome, personal attachment, manyfold. (ibid., 68-70.) Other aspects attached to Marka are such as depth, harmonic, organic, full of shadows, closed space, peaceful, fairytale-like, widespread, untouched, common.
To find out, which elements (e.g. trees, water, scent, paths, benches, noises) of the forest/park do satisfy people's expectations, following questions are to be asked:
1) Which of these elements are changing rapidly?
2) What do these changes mean to the people?
3) How do the people appreciate the contrasting/conflicting elements? (e.g.
trees/roads)? (ibid., 23)
The history, use and conflicts in Oslomarka.
"Oslomarka" have many differing user groups, the needs of whom are different and often conflicting. Carl Christian Gustav Bruun wrote three books of his tours in the Marka between 1870 and 1890, classifying the users of the Marka into six categories: hunters, loggers, timbers, herds, tourists and students (Moland 2006, 60-61). In addition to those, there also were permanent residents in the Marka area.
The stressing everyday life needs as its counterpart outdoors life; this notion has long since been recognised in Norway. Outdoors life has been supported by most people in Norway because it is not organised to the extent of the commercial sports with an aim to make profit. (Moland 2006, 118-120; a similar notion also supported by Cranz of American parks; Cranz 1982, 2). Mixing up commercial interests with public, open spaces is an unhappy marriage, as even Aristotle suggested in the Politics. He recommended that "The market square for buying and selling should be separate from the public square and at a distance from it." (Sennett 1994, 56.)
A research in 2004 showed that 50% prosents of the Oslo dwellers had been using Nordmarka during the last year. Since the late 80s the introduction of off-road bikes had increased the use of Marka even more. (Moland 2006, 174-175.)
Historically the main source of conflicts concerning the ownership and use of Marka has been between landowner-driven forestry and outdoors purposes. In Helsinki the main source of conflict is drastically different.
To fulfil the increasing infrastructural needs of the growing city, in the 1890s, a railway was being planned to go through Nordmarka. There were opinions that the railway would diminish the nature values of the Marka, although a better access to Marka for the Oslodwellers was also valued highly. The railway was constructed through Maridalen to Nittedal and Hakadal so that the central parts of the Nordmarka were left untouched. It was not only used for travelling between the city and Marka but also for transportation of timber from the Marka. Also roads were built in the area during that time (ibid., 84-99).
A water craft installation and water supplies were also in need in order to respond to the need of water of the growing Oslo. But also roads were built in the area during that time. The local landowners thought that they had the power over the water supply of their own area and that the city of Oslo were robbing them of their water. The solution was that Oslo municipality built tunnels to distribute water from the eastern part of the Marka to Maridalsvannet which become the water supply for the inhabitants of Oslo. In addition to this, some dams were also built. The tunnel construction was a long process, taking 16 years. (ibid., 84-99.)
During the infrastructure construction process, some new inhabitants moved to the Nordmarka, most of whom being the construction and water craft workers (Moland 2006, 90). In the beginning of the 20th century, some 250 inhabitants were permanently resided in Marka. The dwellers of Marka often provided accommodation for the tourists from the city (ibid., 119). By then most of the houses in Marka were reachable by horses (ibid., 104).
What the proponents of outdoors life have felt that they have lacked in power to define the use of Marka, they have gained in political influence. The first important outdoors organisation defending Marka have been the Norwegian Tourist Association (Den Norske Turistforening), initiated in 1868 by a businessman Thomas Heftye. Since then, there has been an increasing public interest for using the Nordmarka for leisure. Since the 1880s the cross-country skiers have discovered Nordmarka and first skiing tours were arranged by the first skiing club in Oslo - the Christiania Skiklub - which was founded in 1877. The skiing clubs also built skiing cottages in the Marka.
Firstly the use of Marka was a venture of upper-class citizens, mostly men, hunters and fishermen (Moland 2006, 58-60). The industrialisation has brought about urbanisation also in Oslo, and the Oslomarka has subsequently become the main source for outdoors recreation for urban workers in Oslo. This notion was supported by the Kristiania arbeidersamfunn (Kristiania Workers Association) which proposed to the municipality of Kristiania (Oslo by that time) that it should acquire forests for public use, as the construction of private villas had diminished the surrounding forest areal for public use. The municipality of Christiania received Frognerseterforests in 1899 as a heritage from Heftye, acknowledging that the need of such public space has grown recently. (ibid., 68-69.)
According to Bjørn Tagseth, "arbeidslivet kan gjerne være hardt, for det er i fritiden man lever og tilfredsstiller sine behov" (Oraug et al 1974, 6; original source: Fritid, NIBR, Oslo 1969). Furthermore, Tagseth maintains, clearly inspired by a Marxist thinking that due to lacking influence to production process, the leisure time is for the worker something to be relished and stressed (ibid., 6). In contrast to work, at leisure time an individual has the ultimate control over his social and physical environment.
The first documented case when the workers in the city were arranged weekend recreational tours to Marka dates from 1891, organised by the tourist club Gutenberg with the motto "Fresh air brings riches within" (Frisk luft bringer rikdom). These trips clearly had a political motivation and areas between Maridalen and Nittedal were dominated by organisations with connections to workers movement perhaps because those areas were the most logical destinations for people who lived in working class areas of Sagene, Torshov and Grünerløkka, the upper class areas around Voksenåsen and Vettakollen being in turn dominated by the skiing associations with upper-middle class connections. (Moland 2006, 117-120).
Oslo and Aker municipalities started to buy significant amounts of forests since the late 19th century. The biggest private landowner in Marka, Carl Otto Løvenskiold was forced to some land use restrictions by the municipality. Grefsenkollen was bought by the two municipalities in 1912-1913, and in the early 1920s they acquired some parts of Vettakollen. Later in the 1920s Oslo municipality bought the Ullevaal forest and Vinderen forest from the junior Løvenskiold. During the 1910s and 1920s more cottages were built in the outer parts of Nordmarka by the sports associations but also by the city (Moland 2006, 123-124). In 1928 the Friluftsklubben (Outdoors Club) and Turistforeningen were handed funding from the city in order to make paths in Marka.
Public transportation routes made access to Nordmarka easier. A buss connection was established to Maridalen in 1921 and a tram was constructed to Sogn in 1934. (ibid., 120.) The road construction plans met criticism, counter-criticism replying that the Nordmarka was so extensive that roads couldn't disturbe it and that is was necessary to promote access to the area.
In the 1930s, there were again plans to construct roads through Nordmarka that
were earmarked in the master plan of Oslo in 1934. In order to organise protests against roads construction, the Oslo Outdoors Council (Oslo Friluftsråd) was founded in 1935. It had as its goal to have a master plan for green areas (forests) surrounding Oslo. In addition to this, individuals protested by writing in the papers. (ibid., 132-134).
The 1934 master plan of Oslo divided areas into two main categories: buildable and non-buildable areas. The non-buildable areas were parks, sports areas and nature conservation areas. The main forest areas north of the city were called nature parks of Holmenkollen, Nordmarken and Vettakollen. The committee that was set for preparing the master plan proposed that the municipality should acquire these areas or some special arrangements with the landowners should be made.
In 1941 the book by Nils Houge "Oslomarka som naturpark. Et forslag til fredning
av Stor-Oslos og omliggende distrikters friluftsområder " (Oslomarka forests as
a nature park. A proposal to preservation of outdoors areas of Oslo area and its surroundings), preservation was seen as a means to protect the outdoor areas.
"Skal friluftslivet kunne opprettholdes og videre utvikles blant storbyens befolkning, er det en absolutt betingelse at nødvendige grunnarealer holdes av till dette formål. En fredning av naerliggende og tilstrekkelig store arealer synes her å vaere den eneste løsning."
28th November 1946 there was a lengthy demonstration queue of 30 000 people outside City Hall (Rådhuset) against a power line in Hol. All the main outdoors sports, skiing, fishing, hunting and orienteering organisations were contacted to participate. Local youth associations of the most political parties (Hoyre, KrF, Venstre and Communists) did sign up a petition to support the demonstrants, the only that was missing was Arbeiderpartiet. It was initiated by a commercial director Odd Myre and organised by Outdoors Council of Oslo, establishing a committee in a few days to launch the demonstration even if the power line was to be constructed so that the masts were as a symbolic gesture of benevolence to be made of wood.
The issue of power line went to the city council, which set up a committee to further develop the construction of infrastructure. In addition to state and city politicians and constructing parties also the Friluftsrådet was represented in this committee. According to the committee, the roads would "helt ut vil berøve området omkring veiene den karakter av uberørt natur, som nettopp er det karakteristiske or tiltrekkende ved Nordmarka", the only member that was opposing this was the main roads engineer or Akershus who thought that a road would support the access to the Marka. Furthermore, the committee demanded that Oslo should acquire more recreational areas and to restrict any future construction plans. (Moland 2006, 137-141.)
An article published in the Aftenposten newspaper 1950 declared that "London har Themsens bredder, Paris - Bois de Boulogne, Madrid - Guadarramafjellene, København - Dyrehaven, men ingen hovedstad i verden har maken til naturpark som Nordmarka. Meddelsen om at store deler av den er nu sikret for Oslos innbyggere i all fremtid, vil vekke glede hos alle norske. Betydningen for følkehelsen skjønner enhver. (...) Det er først og fremst ved sin utstrekning Nordmarka virker så berusende i sinnet. Å kunne gå milevidt i helt fri natur. Å vaere skånt for larmen og lukten fra biler, slippe å krysse skinner. (...) Det gledelige som er skjett er at alle Nordmarkstilhengerne nu har fått brev på at naturparken skal få bli liggende uberørt. De er sikret mot overraskelser i fremtiden. Det har vaert et hell for Oslos befolkning at Nordmarka har vaert på én hånd så lenge. I dette tilfelle har den private eiendomsrett vaert til gagn for alle. Hvis ikke familien Løvenskiold hadde vernet Nordmarka og holdt den samlet gjennom generasjoner, ville den antakelig for lenge siden ha vaert forvandlet til et lappeteppe av små or store eiendommer, uten noen mulighet for fri ferdsel. (...) Nordmarkas sikring er den beste gaven Oslos innbyggere har fått i (450th) jubileumsåret. (ibid., 143.)
In the early 1950s, the outdoors life was generally considered to be one of the essentials for the welfare of the city, which made all attempts of forestry all the more difficult. However, everything changed. In 1953 Jørgen von Ubisch was appointed to be responsible for forestry in Nordmarka, and he wanted to modernise the forestry, being supported by the majority of forest owners. To make this happen, new tractor roads were being built. He was opposed by the professor Ola Børset from Norges landbrukshøgskole (land use university), stating that forestry has to take more into account the needs of outdoors life. (ibid., 144.)
Due to growing consumption of water, there was another plan in 1962 to construct a dam in Nordmarka. It would have meant considerable water rise in some of the lakes of Marka. As there were fears that even "half of the Marka would be covered by water" (as written in Dagbladet paper), there was strong protesting against these plans, and the city council was forced to abandon them. (ibid., 146.)
1961 a committee was established by the majors of Nittedal, Lunner, Jevnaker, Brandu and Gran - municipalities north of the Oslo - in order propose to construct a 4-lane motorway from Maridalen in 1965. At this time, a cooperative building company OBOS was also established to build about thousand apartments around Harestua. It has as its chairman Ivar Mathisen, secretary of the Oslo worker's party and second major in Oslo. According to the report of the major's committee, the new road would provide an easier access to the outdoors and recreational areas without significantly diminishing the green areas "ny og lettere adkomst til frilufts- og rekreasjonsområder uten nevneverdig beskjaering av friarealene", this view also supported by the leaders of Oslo skiing organisation. In addition to the growing private car traffic, there was a proposal to launch a new bus route from Maridalen via Kikutstua to Sørkedalen to diminish the car traffic. The bus route was to be established in co-operation between Løvenskiold, Skiing organisation and the municipality of Oslo. (ibid., 147)
The Oslo skiing organisation published in 1962 their advantage paragraph (formålsparagraf), according to which the outdoor areas should be secured. They gave a statement to the prime minister Einar Gerhardsen, himself being an eager user of Marka. The organisation went on with their lobbing of the Norwegian government, being given an influential helping hand in the director of the Norwegian bank, Erik Brofoss. A letter to the "Royal Norwegian Government" was sent in April 1965 by the skiing organisation, outlining the threats to Marka: building of cottages, plans to construct railway and motorways, constructing of new water supplies and power lines. However, the state outdoors council (Friluftsrådet) was the
only statutal organ that participated in the fight for Marka in the 1960s. (ibid., 147-148.)
The Oslo and Surrounding Areas Outdoors Council (Oslo og Omlands Friluftsråd) had a description of the threats of the similar kind than that of the Oslo skiing organisation. Its secretary Erik Sture Larre wrote in Arbeiderbladet that "Det viktigste og det helt avgjørende for Oslo og de omkringliggende kommuner er at man får fredet et friluftsområde, fritt for bebyggelse, jernbaner, bilveier og kraftlinjetraseer", finishing with the notion that "Om Oslo kommune tar initiativet til å samordne de partielle og motstridende interessene i Oslomarkasaken, ville det vaere saken til gagn og byen til heder". They aimed to mark a borderline around Marka area respected by the surrounding municipalities, based on the sketches by Nils Houge in 1940. In 1965 - initiated by Larre - the map of Marka was published, with proposals to all the respective municipalities. Larre also discussed the matter with the surrounding municipalities, aided by the new building legislation that had come into force that very year. (ibid., 148.)
Larre proposed at a annual meeting of the Outdoors Council in 1965 the kind of activities that should be freely allowed and those that should be regulated inside the Marka borders. New power lines should not be constructed, no railway ought to be built and only necessary forest roads "skogsbilveier" should be allowed. Building of cottages should only be allowed in limited areas at the outer zones of Marka. He also proposed that no private driving should be allowed at weekends between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. (ibid., 148-149).
The treasury minister and later minister of commerce, Erik Brofoss was a central figure in saving of the Marka at that time. He was the chief of the Norwegian Bank from 1954 and a member of the Workers' Part Central Committee, and one of the central strategists of his party in the big construction projects after WW II. In his article in Arbeiderbladet newspaper in 1962 he attacked to the Forestry Division of the Oslo municipality for its building and forest road plans. "Ut fra driftsøkonomiske og forstmessige synspunkter kan disse veier og hogstmetodene vaere vel begrunnet. Men det må vaere tillatt å stille det spørsmål om hovedformålet med skogsforvaltningen i Oslo kommune er å få størst mulig privatøkonomisk utbytte. Oslo kommunes primaere oppgave som skogeier mä vaere å verne om naturen i Oslo-marka. Den er Oslo-samfunnets store fellesaktivum. Dens verdi for trivselen kan ikke vurderes i kroner og ører." This letter initiated Odd Myre - the leader of the 1946 demonstrations - to send a letter to Skiing organisation proposing a council under the leadership of Brofoss. (ibid., 149.)
Initiated by the letter, the Skiing organisation proposed to launch a committee in autumn 1964 to secure the Marka. The influential committee, "Puttis-gjengen" was assembled of Brofoss, health director Karl Evang, major general Wilhelm Hansteen, professor Ola Børset, disponent Kai Christophersen, journalist Allan Aarflot and advocate Tor Erling Staff (ibid., 150).
In december 1964 Evang published a chronicle in Arbeiderbladet with the headline “Oslomarka må naturvernes". In 1968 the Puttis-gjengen wrote a 11-page document about the Oslo Forestry division to the City Council of Oslo. The main idea of the letter was to highlight the notion that the forestry principles at the Oslomarka should be different from those at the more distant forests. "Kommunen kan ikke på den ene side hevde at den går inn for å sikre og bevare disse naturområder og samtidig på den annen side fortsette med bruken av dynamitt, bulldozere og gravemaskiner til formål som generelt sett er i strid med frilufts- og naturinteressene". They also referred in the document to the hygienists, psychiatrists, psychologists, sociologists, criminologists e.g. who had described the damages for physical and mental health caused by living in a big town. They also stated that it would be unwise to value the forests only from economical points of view, and that the value of forest for outdoors live and recreation couldn't be valued too highly. They also demanded the city
council to outline the general principles for the municipal forests. (ibid., 150)
Even different actors within the Oslo municipality had conflicting interests: those of the forestry and water supplies and those of the city planning. The city planning division were securing the green corridor from the new suburbs to the forest areas. In 1966 the leader of the municipal forests, Bjarne Maaland got an idea at his trip the US of the so called principle of
multiple use, flerbruk in Norwegian. (ibid., 150).
Despite opposition against road construction and growing traffic at the Marka, in 1966 a road connection from Sørkedalen to Fyllingen, Kikutstua and Bonna was established. In the same year the first public bus line was opened from Oslo to Marka, the timetables being planned for schoolchildren and housewives. The improving connections also made it easier to get together and establish new organisations. (ibid., 151.)
Løvenskiold junior took over the management over the telephone lines and roads in Marka, the municipality paying him for using the roads. Since the 1950s the number of accommodating visitors at the Marka houses had diminished due to increase of private cars and due to building up new private cottages for the Oslo dwellers. The log floating and horse riding were practically vanished by the early 1960 as also the need of the forest guards and other forestry personnel. Alongside this development, most of the timbers were forced to move to Oslo as the Løvenskiold did not allow them to acquire the land for themselves. (ibid., 153-158.)
The quest for Oslomarka, triggered by the belief in the city growth of the 50s and 60s was replaced by rise of environmentalism. Around 1970 - the European Year of Nature Conservation - two new significant actors entered the Marka scene, both of which stemming from the University of Oslo. One of them was Carl August Fleischer from the law faculty, the other consisting of a group of students from the institute of philosophy with a project of nature conservation as a part of their education. Also the municipality departments activated at the same time: the land use department was working on a new forest law while the nature conservation department was working on the multiple use plan and a legislation for Oslomarka (ibid., 150-159.)
In the early 70s, the newspaper coverage in Oslo area papers of the Marka issue increased. Especially the Dagbladet journalist Nils Rømming wrote a number of articles, such as "Ny bred vei gjennom Nordmarka, Løvenskiold blåser i opinionen", "Nemnder og råd snubler i beina på hverandre, kaos i arbeidet for Oslos friluftsinteresser", "Ungdomsopprør i Skiforeningen, rabaldermøte ventes mandag", "Nordmarka er lappeteppe, departementet har kapitulert for Løvenskiold", "Løvenskiold-avtalen er ulovlig og må oppheves”. (ibid., 159-168.)
Many of those who participated in newspaper debates had relationships to the Outdoors Council, Skiing organisation or Tourist organisation; also workers of the Løvenskiold-companies participated. Forest guard Arne Fossneset defended the modern forestry as there also were people getting their income from the forest:
"Hva skjer med Oslomarka? Er politikerne i ferd med å ødelegge alt?" asked Jan Eggesvik, Ketil Heyerdahl and Bjørn Hersoug who thought that Oslo politicians and technical division of the municipality were well on their way to earmark Oslomarka as an outdoors area. In Aftenposten Sverre Martens asked whether the forestry and the outdoors people shared the same interests. All these young men were philosophy students from the Oslo university. (ibid., 159.)
In 1969 at the institute of philosophy the first meetings of the co-operation group SNM for nature and environment were held. This group did not only aim to write columns but also to attack non-violently the construction machinery. They were inspired by the principles Gandhi, introduced by the professor of philosophy Arne Naess. In 1970 it was about the time for their first intervention, aiming to stop the construction of Mardøla waters. About 30-40 activists set up tents on the road leading to the area. Soon they were joined by some 500 others, awaking interest in the media. After one month this demonstration was dissolved by the police, removing Naess. This happened after counteraction of local inhabitants who were afraid of losing their jobs. (ibid., 160).
In the spring 1970 the group established a sub group specialised in Oslomarka. They sent a letter in October 1970 to the city council in order to stop the building of dam in Sandungen, meaning that it would destroy the nature. They also aimed to preserve seven areas in Nordmarka, Baerumsmarka and Krokskogen. (ibid., 160).
The professor Carl August Fleischer contributed to the Oslo regional plan committee in 1967, writing especially about Krokskogen forest. He went through all the relevant legislation: construction law, outdoors law, nature conservation law and pollution law. Fleischer concluded that the Stortinget (the Parliament) should have a special legislation for the whole Marka. The legislation was taken to the city council in the autumn of 1970. Brynjolf Bull from the Arbeiderpartiet proposed Fleisher to do a thorough report on the economical and legal aspects of the Marka, and Erik Mår from Høyre proposed the Norwegian government to secure the Marka by legal means. (ibid., 160-161.)
In spring 1971 Fleischer proposed to stop all construction of roads temporarily in Marka relying on the construction law. March 1973 the department replied to the municipality that construction of roads can not be stopped. (ibid., 161.)
In October 1970 the municipality of Baerum sent a letter to the Kommunal- og
arbeidsdepartmentet (KAD) in order to judge the need of conserving the nature and outdoors areas used by city dwellers in cities and suburbs. Shortly after this, KAD proposed seven areas at the Marka to be conserved, almost identical to those proposed by SNM. Løvenskiold and the forest owners protested to this proposal, maintaining that it would mean the end of the forest industry in Marka. Due to this, KAD was forced to abandon its proposal. (ibid., 161).
The KAD did embark on a multiple use plan of the Marka. That it was a government department embarking on this, was natural as the Marka area was extended to 17 municipalities and 4 provinces (fylker). An agreement between Løvenskiold and KAD was finally reached in 8th October. The most controversial detail in this agreement was a road from Lenseløken via Katnoselva and Spålselva to Spålselva and Finvassdalen, going through the proposed conservation areas. (ibid., 161-162.)
In October 1971 Løvenskiold started with constructing the new road connection. 14th November about 100 activists came by bus to Stubdal, sleeping in tents. The demonstration was cut short by a heart attack of one activist, Harald Grøterud. Another bunch of activists came again in June 1972 when Løvenskiold started with a new road, again with Grøterud as their type writer. This time tv-cameras and also the police were around. When 160 forestry workers threatened to remove the demonstrants, they withdrew. In a TV programme "Dagsrevyen" the matter was debated, the interests of the forestry represented by Jens Venner, the Oslomarka group represented by Bjørn Faafeng and Ketil Heyerdal opposing the road construction and the police stressing the importance of keeping order. (ibid., 162-164.)
The actions had united Løvenskiold and his workers, now having an enemy in form of university students. In October 1973 the Katnosa/Spålen area was temporarily preserved, by then some of the roads to Spålen constructed, nevertheless not to Spålselva. After this the Oslomarka group was less visible. (ibid., 164.)
In January 1972 Fleischer wrote a 273 page letter which was soon afterwards revised to a book, published by the name "Makt og rett - om sikring av Oslomarka" (Power and justice - upon securing the Oslomarka" to Oslo municipality "Betenkning om sikring av Oslomarka". The first publisher withdrew after receiving a letter from the attorney of Løvenskiold that the publication of the book would be a personal insult. Although a professor of law, it was not
a juridical document but rather a pamphlet where Fleischer maintained that the general Norwegian interest "allmenningsretten" was being sacrificed to private interests and to a private property of a Danish patron Løvenskiold. He furthermore maintained that the Løvenskiold controlled areas should be taken over by the authorities. (ibid., 165-166.)
While the municipality of Oslo was preparing its multiple use plan for Marka, it declared that it would take the Fleischer paper "into account". In the process of preparing the multiple use plan, a consultative work group was assembled with representation from interest organisations. Three major research institutes were also involved: Norsk institutt for by- og regionforskning (NIBR, Norwegian Institute of city and regional research), Norges Landbrukshøgskole (NLH, Norwegian University of Land Use) and University of Oslo (UiO). NIBR produced reports of the history of outdoors life in Marka, the use of Marka and the expectations towards Marka. The forestry in Marka was examined in the reports by NLH, the economical points of view taken into account. (ibid., 166.)
The aim of the "flerbruksplan" was that the Marka could be used to various justifiable purposes simultaneously and to intermediate various interests by making visible the different interests to use and to protect the Marka. Simultaneously the department of environment was preparing a legislation for Marka, aiming especially to regulate the forestry around Oslo. At the same time, the Land Use department prepared a revision of the Forest Law. Oslo og Omland Friluftsråd prepared a plan for outdoor areas, while the forest owners prepared their own multiple use plans. (ibid., 166-167).
In 1976 the new legislation was presented, and in that year the newspapers were also most involved with the Marka case. In May the revised forest law was handled in the Parliament, still having the greatest emphasis on the interests of the forest industry. Still, the new law made it possible to recognise the special landscape or nature values of the forest areas. (ibid., 167.)
The multiple use plan for Oslomarka was presented in June 1976. It was sent to outdoors and forestry organisations for comments, the outdoors organisations being largely and forestry organisations a little disappointed. Oslo and Nittedal municipalities supported the plan while the Lunner municipality was negative to it, meaning that the interests of the forestry were also in the best interests of the outdoor activities. In a government conference in May 1977 a working group was established to work out a revised multiple use plan for Oslomarka. Its proposal was presented in December 1979, and in April 1981 the government had its proposal for a special law for Oslomarka but it was not accepted by the Høyre lead new government. In the 1970s, the government was lead by the Workers Party, largely neglecting the issue so that the process was extended to a period of another 10 years. (ibid., 167.)
The clear result of the revised legislation was that in general the forestry were winners and the environmental authorities were the losers. While the outdoors and environmental organisations were supported by the Department of Environment, the forest owners and forest organisations were supported by the Land Use department. The most decisive was that the forest workers were allied by their employers, having good political connections, the workers in Workers Party and the forest owners in the Høyre and Center Party. Still, the nature conservation had its share of victories; apartment building in Sørkedalen and Maridalen came
to nothing and extension of the water establishments in Nordmarka were frozen. Constructing new car roads in the forest stopped during the 1970s, the last battle being around Langliveien in 1978. After the turbulent 1970s, the 1980s were considerably more tranquil in the Marka and since the 1980s, Oslomarka has been referred as the Marka with a big essential.
Aasmund Arnesen, a teacher in Marka skola wrote in Aftenposten in 1973 that those who lived in Marka were largely neglected from decision making about the future of Marka. In 1975 an inhabitants' council (bosettingsulvalget) was established, and in 1984 1500 people lived in Marka permanently, the last school in Marka being closed in the previous year. Being a part of Oslo town since 1972, the Oslo part of the Marka was prepared a local plan by the municipality of Oslo in 1989. (ibid., 169-172.)
The department of environment wanted to define the borderlines of Marka, giving a new proposal in 1981. Some municipalities around Oslo were against it as they felt it was against their own autonomy to decide how the land would be used. In 1985 the municipality of Lunder wanted the borderline to be identical to that of the district borderline, meaning that Marka wouldn't be extended in Lunder area. As a compromise, some areas of Lunder would be included in Marka while areas north of Mylla were to be left outside as the Mylla municipality were to construct cottages in that area.
In Oslo the Marka borderline is symbolically very strong, and when Løvenskiold wanted to construct a conference centre in Bonna gård, it had to be withdrawn due to negative input by Outdoors Council and Aftenposten. In 1990 did the department of environment nominate Kjell Hauge as the newly established post as the inspector of the Marka, his task being to intermediate between authorities, especially environmental, the public and those working in Marka. When he retired in 2003, his post was abolished. (ibid., 172.)
In 1980s, the NLH began to support the conserving parties of interest, and this led to the conserving 10% of the Marka area and that the forestry was cut significantly. In the 1990s the methods of forestry were critically scrutinised especially by the Naturvernforbundets lokalavdeling i Oslo og Akershus (Nature Conservation League local organisations in Oslo and Akershus). Since 1977 the conditions of the forestry in Marka have been revised several times, the authority regulating the forestry in Marka being the Fylkeslandsbrukskontor (District Land Use Office). The private forest owners have had to make plans for their road construction and forestry and forestry had become more bureaucratic and difficult. The Nature Conservation League had focused especially on forests around Spålen, the first conservation plans taking place already in the 1970s. In 1995, a royal resolution of the Marka was declared. Since 1998 the forestry have been applying the Living Forest (levende skog) -standards. (ibid., 173.)
Park as a place: refuge to the nature or tamed pastoralism?
A right to the city means right to the urban life. The urban life according to Lefebvre is dialectical, as the conflict between the claim to the nature and the claim to urbanity will alter the apprehension of urbanity. The driving forces behind this process are nostalgia and tourism, the need for urban dwellers to return to the nature. The right to the nature is essential for humans as the urbanity is of recent origin but it has only recently entered the urban social sphere. (Lefevbre 1996, 149.)
Voids – empty spaces in the city – are spaces for the possible, not necessarily vacuums or left-overs, land reserves. In the context of urban planning, the nature in the city is often perceived as a void, something un-built, unplanned and non-profitable. Space is a function of the search, even struggle for scarce resources, which is often evident in the context of urban parks as the parks are often conceived as land reserves. (Lefevbre 1990, 349.)
Urban space can be approached in a variety of ways. Space can be conceived as a physical context, describing the mere areal settings, restrictions and limitations of a given space. Space is also a social product, produced by subjects with varying power and aims. It is also a product of social translation, transformation and experience. (Soja 1990, 79-80, 120.)
The distinction between space and place is a basic one in the development of urbanity. While Christian time and place drew on the body's powers of compassion, economic time and space drew on its powers of aggression. These contraries of space and place, of opportunity and fixity, of compassion and aggression, occurred within every bourgeois trying both to believe and to profit in the city. (Sennett 1994, 188.)
Edward Soja has had the Lefebvrian dichotomy as his starting point but he maintained it to explain insufficiently the nature of spatiality. According to Soja, Lefevbre treats “Nature” rather naively as something pure, unaltered and original. In context of urban parks, the concept of “Second nature” is often more valid, as the city parks are politically and ideologically re-shaped “products” of nature. Central Park is not a natural but a lived space, and in that sence it can be labelled as “real” and “authentic”. (Soja 1990, 79-80)
Places are not only onthological entities. As they are produced by human actions, they are also epistemological entities (Cresswell 2007, 110). As the Sojan Firstspace is about the physical and empirical space and Secondspace characterises the conceived, experienced and even imagined notion of space, the Thirdspace is about living the space. Thirdspace describes the ways in the space is used and lived. (ibid., 38.) In other words, Firstspace could be characterised as the physical space, Secondspace as the mental space and Thirdspace as the social space (Soja 1990, 120).
Yet, Lefevbre admits the possibility of socially produced space, albeit he stresses the power relatedness of its definition and creation (Lefevbre 1990, 26). There are indeed often conflicts concerning the definition of places; a notion reminded by Massey (Cresswell 2007, 70). When something is called a park, this directs the actions towards it and interpretations of it. This representation implies abstraction of a physically understood space, and this process is always power related (Lefevbre 1990, 370).
Representational space refers to the directly lived space by bodily practices, “space of inhabitants and users”, the concept being comparable with the Sojan Thirdspace. Green areas activists often stress the “cultural ecology” of places, emphasizing the uniqueness of biological resources at one given place (Cresswell 2007, 84). The processes of producing and using of spaces, spatial practices include space politics and the daily spatial routines, routes and networks linking up places for different spheres of work, “private” life and leisure (Lefevbre 1990, 38-39; 235-236)
The need for urban nature protests against noise, pollution and fatigue caused and/or escalated by the rotting or exploding of cities brought about with the urban congestion of population. In cities, naturality is destroyed by or sacrificed for commercialised, industrialised and institutionally organised leisure pursuits. City misery needs to be complemented by satisfaction and self-realisation.
“Nature” or what passes for it, and survives of it, becomes the ghetto of leisure pursuits, the separate place of pleasure and the retreat of “creativity” (Lefevbre 1996, 149).
Yet, as Lefebvre claims that urbanity is still perceived as a residual of rural and itside its scheme, he claims that the urban dwellers can not be totally charmed by the rural countryside. Man is yet to be a urban creature; we are still reflecting on our rural society, this also being reflected in the apprehension of rural, natural and pastoral being perceived as the natural state of being. Instead man needs urban parks to be apprehended and for recreation and Central Park provides with it an appropriate amount of pastoralism for urban dwellers. (ibid.)
The treating of space provided by urban parks as public, providing the people fresh air and fastening moral standards by providing attachments to the society for the people, the city parks do are in fact embodiments of the idealised rural standards of life (Lacour & Puissant 2007, 738).
Olmsted the protagonist of picturesque pastoralism
Frederick Law Olmsted represents a turning point in understanding shifting interpretations of the American landscape and its relationship to nature. In his work, the natural become from an antidote to urban life to an essential ingredient of the city. (Mugenauer 1995, 103.)
The Christian based tradition understanding nature interpreted the nature as an earthly paradise given by its holy creator and as a site for enhancing human moral. Olmsted contributed significantly to develop the scientific approach to environmental planning, where human well-being played a central role. (ibid., 92-93.) In the early 19th century, the idea of nature was of unspoiled kind, the human mind and spirit being uplifted, refreshed and enhanced by its encounter with the nature (Fabos et al 1968, 10). The Arcadian myth of
idolising the simple, content pastoral people influenced greatly in the late 19th century American planners (Tobey 1973, 171).
Olmsted was well steeped into Christian tradition of understanding nature by being
acquaintained to the doctrines but also to a book called "City Plans" by the reverend Horace Bushnell (1802-1876), who wrote that the welfare of the city and its inhabitants "depends to a considerable degree on the right arrangement and due multiplication of vacant spaces" and "the providing and right location of a sufficient park, or parks" which would provide the inhabitants of a city "breathing places" (Mugenauer 1995, 96-98). Still, even if Olmsted was
largely influenced by the writings of Bushnell, he was perhaps the first to attempt a break-away from Christian way of interpreting nature as a human environment but nevertheless he believed that the experience of contemplating the nature was somewhat akin to religious experience (L. Hall 1995, 243).
In his quote of Lord Bacon, Frederick Law Olmsted stated that
"God Almighty first planted a garden, and, indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures; it is the greatest of refreshments to the spirits of man, without which buildings and palaces are but gross handiworks: and a man shall ever see that when ages grow to civility and elegance, men come to build stately sooner than to garden finely - as if gardening were the greater perfection... Such a garden is the scene of the promised paradise and thus the site for our mandated moral work". (Mugenauer 1994, 94.)
My Central Park: subjective readings of Central Park, its meaning and use
Empirical part: interviewing, whom?
- “What does Central Park mean to you?”
- What are doing there, when and with whom?”
A city can be understood as a socially understood text or as a virtual object. The textualist interpretation stresses the city as an object for cultural consumption for tourists and for aesthetic apprehension, stressing both the spectacles and the picturesque elements of the city. (Lefevbre 1996, 149.)
Is the Helsinki Central Park a park as it a forest? Places can be “produced”. For instance, as the Helsinki Central Park is essentially a forest, it is yet called a park. Helsinki Park is another more recent example of place producing of this kind; areas usually conceived as Eastern parts of the Central Park has recently been labelled officially as Helsinki Park, stretching down to the seashores of Helsinki. Yet this concept is not quite well known.
An easy and readily available, obvious positive answer would be to be content in mere declaring that it is a park because it is called such. A more elaborate and functionalist way of answering would be to find out, what it is used for and whether it serves the park functions. If a negative answer is accepted, then what is it if not a park? It surely looks like a forest, albeit not an untouched wilderness for sure. So, it is obviously a forest, a stretch of the nature in a city. Having this as the starting point, then relationship between nature and man-made environment– changed over time and different in different places - needs to be studied.
Does Central Park respond to the need of public space? Is it a public space at all or is it private/privately conceived/experienced public space?
According to Cresswell, issues connected with places are those of boundaries and rootedness (Cresswell 2004, 79). Central Park the physical environment, the space characterising it becomes a place when humans attach meaning and use it. Yi-Fu Tuan describes the process when places become emotionally important by the term “topophilia” According to Edward Relph, spaces can provide settings for human actions, but it is only these actions that make the spaces places. (ibid., 19-21.) The insiders have an authentic relationship to places, marking their authenticity (ibid., 44).
There are different interpretations of a place. Human geographers emphasize power relations in constructing and defining places. Marxist geographer David Harvey stresses that places are scenes for struggles for identity, where different actors have differing means and extent of power. (ibid 2007, 26). Those in power – according to de Certeau - tend to pre-define the desired use of space, attaching “prescriptions” to it. On the other hand, humans tend to re-interpret physical environment and attach new modes of use and meanings to physical environment (ibid., 36-39).
The constructivist interpretations maintains that there are no “authentic” places but instead all places, even the material conditions of places are all socially constructed, this also affecting to the use of the places. Nigel Thrift maintains that all places are constructed by “doing” subjects and that places always change, they are never finite. (ibid., 37.) Furthermore, they can be characterised by mobility: places can serve as transitional spaces, spaces for routes leading to one place to another.
According to David Seamon, most human geographers tend to exaggerate the interpreting subject. He reminds that also bodily practices – time-space routines form places, for example use of a certain physical setting defines the nature of a space significantly. These time-space routines include the practices how people move around and use physical space. (ibid., 33-34).
As an example, in the Moland history of Oslomarka are mentioned different “stories” of Marka.
"Den lyse fortellingen" - the happy folks of Oslo using Oslomarka for their recreation. "Den mørke fortellingen" - the nomadic nature of the habitation of those who work in Marka. "Fortellinger innenfra" - how it has been to work and to live in Nordmarka. "Den nye fortellingen" - opposing the growth of city, at the expense of its extension to Marka. (Moland 2006, 176-178)
The short pre-history of parks
The word "park" can refer to various things, but it always suggests a green open space of some kind, with turf and trees (Olmsted & Kimball 1928, 3). Medieval monastery gardens of the 9th and 10th century France can be called as predecessors of public parks, not only chronologically but also in their purpose as they were meant to provide a place for self-restoration and for moral improvement for the monks working there (Sennett 1994, 183-184), those also being the justification arguments of the later public parks.
Cloister sanctuaries were tied symbolically and practically to the veneration of the Nature, specifically to creating and maintaining the garden contained within the cloister's walls. Christian meditation set in the cloister garden drew upon the imagery of the Garden of Eden, which set the scene for thinking about the human self-destructiveness that led to Adam and Eve's expulsion from the garden. For the monks who first dwelt in rural sanctuaries, tending a garden was meant to be a restorative act, a Christian's restitution of Adam and Eve's exile. Nicolas of Clairvaux "divided all creation into five regions: the world, purgatory, hell, heaven, and the paradisus claustralis." The last of the five, the cloister garden, aimed to be paradise regained on earth. To labor here was to regain one's dignity.
The paradisus claustralis of the monastery contrasted in this to the Islamic "paradise gardens", as described in the Koran, and planted in cities like Cordoba. The Islamic gardens sought to provide relief from labor; when William of Malmesbury wrote about the gardens of Thorney Abbey, by contrast, he declared that "not a particle of the soil is left to lie fallow... in this
place cultivation rivals nature; what the latter has forgotten the former brings forth."
The labor of the monks was focused on the garden. Christian monastic reformers thought that the work in the garden not only restored the worker to the original garden, but also created spiritual discipline; the harder the work, the greater its moral value. The monk's labors
in the garden came to be silent labor, as observed in the garden by Fransiscans and the Cistercians, as well as many Benedictines. The elements of garden design were thought in the medieval era to create a place that encouraged introspection. If the urban Christian garden of medieval Paris meant to renew humanity in its state of grace before the Fall, those who worked outside the sanctuary seemed to wander in an urban wilderness. (Sennett 1994, 179-185.)
The ascent of urban parks
Some ancient observers found that the diversity of the agora – serving same king of functions as public, open urban spaces as the parks - disturbed their sense of political decorum and gravity. In the Politics, Aristotle wrote, "a city is composed of different kinds of men; similar people cannot bring a city into existence." (Sennett 1994, 56.)
From the days of Plantagenet dynasty in the latter part of the 12th century, the public had already been allowed the privilege of walking on the royal hunting parks of London. The first documented case for the promoting of public interest of green areas was an act passed in the English Parliament in 1592, according to which "no person shall inclose or take in any part of the commons or waste grounds within three miles of the gates of the city of London, nor
sever nor divide by any hedges, ditches, pales or otherwise any of the said fields lying within three miles etc., to the hindrance of the training or mustering of soldiers, or of walking for recreaction, comfort and health of her Majesty's people". The formulation was liberal in its time, but it had very little practical effect. (Olmsted & Kimball 1928, 4-5.)
In 1649 did the English Parliament passed an act to the city of London, presenting the Richmond Great Park, formerly being a possession of King Charles. Next year the parliament passed another resolution of the park, maintaining "that it was the intention of Parliament in passing the Act for settling the new Park at Richmond on the Mayor and Commonalty of the City of London, that the same should be preserved as a park still, without destruction, and to remain as an ornament to the City, and a Mark of Favour from the Parliament unto the said City", being a large open space belonging to the municipality, being opened to the public use by the royal owners to whom the park was soon given back after the restoration. By that time hunting had already become less popular and the common interest of parks' use for common recreation had grown. By the latter part of the 18th century London, this privilege had become practically a public right. (ibid., 5.)
Around the mid-17th century, Paris and London were the two largest metropoles of the world. Alongside with the population growth of the cities, more social networks and more accidental encounters of strangers occurred. The streets had become too narrow and hectic for encounters and places specially reserved for encounters had to be launched, and this need was the greatest in the largest towns, so it again was no coincidence that the first towns to adopt large public city parks were London and Paris at that time. (Sennett 1992, 17.)
By the mid-18th century, Tuileries in Paris and St. James's Park in London had become an integral element of daily town life of the inhabitants of their respective towns, reflecting the wide variety of sociality and representing various social classes gathered in towns. Albeit trying to adopt the forms of sociability of high classes, even the working class was tolerated in the parks. As the encounters at parks were of accidental and mostly casual nature, the parks in fact served an important function in educating the people into the mentality of townspeople.
The Regent's Park was earmarked in 1812 from a royal land by the future king George IV as a non-built resort or a reservoir, meant as the "lungs of the city", in the centre of the lands meant for building. The park was planned by John Nash in conjunction of the Regent's Street, meant to exclude all traffic from the park. (Sennett 1994, 325-328.) In Liverpool, the Prince's Park was laid out by a private enterprise as a land speculation including a possibility to construct "villas for the wealth and promenades for the poor". (Olmsted & Kimball 1928, 6.)
England appointed in 1833 a select committee "to consider the best means of securing open spaces in the vicinity of populous towns, as Public Walks and Places of Exercise, calculated to promote the Health and Comfort of the Inhabitants". The Committee pointed out that the great increase in the population in large towns, simultaneously increasing value of property and growing extent of building, many enclosures of open spaces had occurred and in turn, little or no provision for public walks or open spaces for providing means for the greater public had been made. It furthermore maintained that "any provision of public walks and open places would much conduce to the comfort, health and content of the classes (middle and humbler in question). (ibid., 6-7.)
Alongside London, the Committee mentioned Liverpool, Bristol, Norwich, Nottingham and Shrewsbury as the only other English towns to have "some open space in their immediate vicinity yet preserved as a public walk". At Manchester there even was a society for the preservation of public foot paths, and in Liverpool the St. James's Walk formed by the corporation of Liverpool, had been damaged by smoke and become useless for recreation purposes. (ibid., 7.)
In England the continental influences and examples were recognised by the committee, citing that Paris, Lyon and Florence were superior to London when it came to the public walks (ibid., 8.) In France the gardens of Versailles (Hazlehurst 1980, 4) were designed as geometric entities around the Versailles castle by André Le Nostre (1613-1700). Le Nostre was also called onto designing private gardens for the houses of the French nobility. When Versailles, located outside the city, accentuated power, the Place Louis XV as planned by Pierre L'Enfant (1755-1825), was meant to provide the citizens of Paris a free space, the lung of the city (Sennett 1994, 268-269).
In L'Enfant plan of Paris in the mid 18th century, movement through the urban lung was still to be a sociable experience. In 1765, the authorities of Paris sought out various schemes to make Place Louis XV more accessible to the people of the city, a lung through which the Parisians could stream and refresh themselves. These streets and footpaths marked a great break with the older fabric of the city; no commerce would be allowed on them, or rather, only commerce with the air and the leaves, and one another. Curiously, the plan L'Enfant made for Washington is not quite so at ease with nature in the city as was the Place Louis XV. L'Enfant explained to president Washington that he wished to "afford a great variety of pleasant seats and prospects" and to "connect each part of the city". Open spaces freely available to all citizens would serve both these ends. (ibid. 268-270)
The Place Louis XV contravened the power relations which shaped open space in a royal garden outside the city. Another kind of open space appeared in the influential English landscaping of the early 18th century, "the boundless garden", lacking an obvious beginning or end, seizing the imagination in irregular space full of surprises as the eye wandered or the
body moved, a place of lush and free growth. (Sennett 1994, 268.)
The movement of municipal parks in Germany dates to the early 19th century. In 1815 the Stadtbaumeister Harte of Magdeburg wrote a letter to the city council, calling attention to the destruct of public gardens around the city occurred during the Napoleonic wars. He pointed out that the town would be a sad place for those who loved rural pleasures, and that it was an obligation for the general good on the part of the authorities to do something about it. By that time, an old city property called Herrenkrug was already used as a recreational space, and in 1818 the Oberburgermeister Franke declared the need of a park provided by the municipality, as the Herrenkrug park was only to be finished in 1845. In 1824 Franke undertook the Friedrich-Wilhelmsgarten, which was probably the first public park in Germany. The park design was supervised by Peter Joseph Lenné. (Olmsted & Kimball 1928, 10-11.)
The parks movement gathered more pace alongside the spread of industrialism. The Friedrichshafen in Berlin was set off by the municipality as a public park in 1840, being followed by parks in Munich, Frankfurt, Dresden and Leipzig, just before the introduction of the New York Central Park.
The parks in cities: ailments for sicknesses of urbanity
During the second half of the 19th century, the rapid industrialisation brought about a rapid urbanisation. In the process, the urban environment went through a profound change, the over-population bringing about restlessness, poverty and crime. It soon became evident that the needs of city-habitants had to be met, those needs being not only vocational and residential. The cities had become “too big, too polluted, too built up, too crowded, too diseased, too polluted, too artificial, too commercial, too corrupting and too stressful” (Cranz 1982, 3).
Horrified by these circumstances escalated in the growing cities, the protagonists of the City Beautiful movement stressed the needs to create the urban environment more pleasant by providing sufficiently open, green areas for the city dwellers. These areas were meant to regulate the morale of the city-habitants by refreshing them and providing them with beauties of nature. In 1870 Frederick Law Olmsted published an article "Public Parks and the Enlargement of Towns" in the journal of Social Science, published by the American Social Science Association (L. Hall 1995, 25, 149.) As the City Beautiful movement was influenced by the architecture of the European metropoles, the representatives of the movement also noticed that the problems of the growing late 19th century cities were of similar nature, both in US and Europe.
The City Beautiful movement proposed a three-step program (in order to integrate the poor immigrants to the society): firstly to provide them with a good example through settlements, secondly, through moral coercion and even segregation and thirdly, by systematic upgrading of the urban environment. This was meant to be done by providing the city-dwellers playgrounds, parks and later on, park systems. (P. Hall 2002, 37-47.)
The Franklin Park, being one part of the Boston Park network system was characterised by its designer Olmsted himself as
"the entire property has been bought by the city because of its special advantages for one purpose. That purpose is to provide opportunity for a form of recreation to be obtained only through the influence of pleasing natural scenery upon the sensibilities of those quickly contemplating it... The plan proposes, therefore, that nothing shall be built, nothing set up, nothing planted as a decorative feature... to sustain the designed character of the country park, the urban elegance generally designed in a small public or private pleasure ground is to be methodically guarded against" (Fabos et al 1968, 68).
Trips to England by Frederick Law Olmsted and Andrew Jackson Downing were instrumental in introducing the English and continental European influence in American park ideals. The establishing of parks in London - St. James's Park, Green Park, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens - made a great influence in the American parks movement. (Tobey 1973, 154; Olmsted & Kimball 1928, 3-4.) Downing referred to the Germany as the most instructive country to Americans when it came to park planning, as in Germany many examples of public gardens were already evident. These German parks were acknowledged by Downing as something distinctly new and different from public gardens of elder generation, such as the Prater in Vienna, the Alameda in Madrid, the Chiaga at Naples and the promenade at Berne.
Deliberate modelling from Europe was nevertheless denied by Olmsted. He maintained that at the time of his plan for the New York's Central Park there were scarcely any notable public parks in Germany, Italy or Belgium and that the public park of Bois de Boulogne in Paris was a contemporary with his Central Park, being given its final form only in 1855. Olmsted maintained that the parks movement occurred simultaneously in Europe and in the US, that mid 19th century movement was an expression of the civilisation process of man, taking place simultaneously and independently. (Olmsted & Kimball 1928, 13-14.)
New York Central Park is largely based on the English tradition, intended to offer the urban people rural landscape, representing a modern view and a regulated form of pastoralism, providing a sudden refuge from the urban city (L. Hall 1995, 61; Wilson 1992, 95). It "exercise(s) a distinctly harmonizing and refining influence upon (even) the most unfortunate and most lawless classes of the city", according to Olmsted himself. (L. Hall 1995, 66.) From sir Richard Mayne, commander of the London Police, Olmsted inherited his idea for recruiting, training and managing a special police force for keeping order in Central Park and for instructing the park visitors in using the park for recreation without destroying it. (L. Hall 1995, 66.)
Olmsted was essentially an urbanist by thinking that the future laid in cities and the countryside was doomed to fail and believed that the growth of the cities was unavoidable. He was convinced that the living conditions at his contemporary town environments were far from favourable and even unhealthy. If Olmsted admired European city parks, the anti-urbanist undercurrent of idolising the nature was at least as strong an influence, albeit not knowingly (Cranz 1982, 3-5). In his own words,
"(it is) certain that if (townspeople) fail to secure fresh air in abundance, pleasant natural scenery, trees, flowers, birds, and, in short, all the essential advantages of a rural residence, they will possess but a meagre share if the reward which providence offers in this world to the exercise of prudence, economy and wise forecast" (Mugenauer 1995, 95).
Olmsted was largely impressed by the decision of the municipality of Birkenhead as they acquired land for a park, being opened as the People's Park in 1845. Birkenhead park was designed by Joseph Paxton (1801-1865), interlinking agricultural interests of him and humanitarian social vision of John Claudius Loudon (1783-1843). (Rogers 2001, 322-325.)
Olmsted described his visit to Birkenhead as follows:
"Five minutes of admiration and a few more spent in studying the manner in which art had been employed to obtain from nature so much beauty and I was ready to admit that in democratic America there was nothing to be thought of as comparable with this people's garden" (Fabos et al 1968, 23).
At Birkenhead he first realised that parks could benefit civility, regardless of social class and to encourage communicativeness (L. Hall 1995, 35). Nevertheless, it is fair to say that communicativeness, civilisation and domesticity were not mere ideals of the community to Olmsted but features of those privileged and that appropriate outdoors recreation was essential especially to the curriculum of the advantaged citizens (ibid., 133-137). In the all-embracing democratic philosophy of early urban parks of the 19th century, “parks would equalize up, not down” (Cranz 1982, 183).
Olmsted thought that the human being could be changed by his surroundings; a spiritually uplifting habitat could enhance the moral standard, further democracy and aesthetical sense of its inhabitants (L. Hall 1995, 164). Parks and other urban open spaces were designed to promote social well-being: health, decency, vigor, civil morality, sensibility to the beautiful, trade and prosperity (Mugenauer 1995, 101). Parks were to bring together people from different social classes and interests, and for promoting this he planned areas at his parks meant for activities of different kinds. Olmsted's main principles guiding his designing of public parks were those of scenery, suitability, sanitation, subordination, separation and spaciousness (McClelland 1998, 36). These principles were realised in his major works in the form of city parks, state and natural parks meant for public use and whole systems of city parks for various American cities.
Parks were to be antidotes to the stress and artificiality of urban everyday life. (Cooper
Marcus et al. 1999, 242.)
"The influences (of any rural park in an urban setting) most desirable to exerted in the mind are the reverse of those from which the much confined, stimulated and overworked inhabitants of large towns are habitually suffering, and from the wearing and disorganising effects of which they need to find conditions favorable to recreation" (L. Hall 1995, 156).
The early American city parks of the late 19th century were grounds for “unstructured pleasures”, stretches of rural nature in the city, the ideal activities being such as riding, picnicking, skating, just spending time there. Since 1890, athletic activities have been promoted in a larger extent. (Cranz 1982, 5-13.)
Violating against park use considered out-of-place has caused protesting. For instance, planning of a speedway in the New York Central Park was met with vehement protesting. Parks were considered to “transcend, not to reflect the evils of urbanity” and in American parks no public meetings were generally allowed. (Cranz 1982, 21-23.) The resistance to traffic remained strong, despite the fact that often the parks were created in distant wastelands, when traffic connections promoted the access to the parks (ibid., 29-32; 96).
Cities in parks; Garden cities movement
When new sites for residences and new cities were to be planned, there was a general need to establish recreational green areas, due to the industrial congestion of population into large existing cities. This notion was most notably brought about by the Garden Cities movement. It began to gather pace when Alfred Marshall (1842-1924), the notable professor of economics at Cambridge suggested in 1884 that in order to fight the industrial congestion of population in large towns, the country would benefit if a large number of Londoners would be removed into the countryside. (P. Hall 2002, 91.)
In fact the early 20th rising application of Garden cities was not without precedents. Garden cities as known in Britain were to be found in some English colonies already on the earlier half of 19th century. The surveyor-general of South Australia since 1835, William Light, (1786-1839) received a letter of instructions by the Colonization Committee for South Australia, maintaining that "You will make the streets of ample width and arrange them with reference to the convenience of the inhabitants and the beauty and salubrity of the town; and you will make the necessary reserves for squares, public walks and quays". This first town was to be named Adelaide, and the "Park Lands" are still a prominent feature of the city. Adelaide was thus one of the first examples of those later to be described as garden cities. In 1839 in New Zealand, the first town sooner to be named Wellington, the directors of the New Zealand land Company proved themselves another precursors of the Garden City movement in their reservation of open spaces in their first city plan. (Olmsted & Kimball 1928, 9-10.)
City beautification and purification through parks; Daniel Burnham
Daniel Burnham, a man of no small plans, made the plan of the whole Chicago in 1909 (P. Hall 2002, 190). His starting point was the L´Enfant plan dating from 1791, including a great park, later mainly destroyed by roads and commercial land use. As seeking inspiration for the work, a three-man committee led by Burnham went to Europe to study the great European cities. One of the main principles of the plan was to provide parks to all the inhabitants of Chicago within walking distance, wanting Chicago to be the "Paris of the Prairie", idolising the Hausmann plan of Paris. Burnham recommended studying great European cities as examples of civic design and park planning (Scott 1971, 51).
In many cases, park advocates argued that parks could –and should – replace morally dubious activities, such as pubs and amusement parks (Cranz 1982, 29). In Cleveland Burnham had a bold attempt in transforming the city from a rugged industrial town when appointed as the head of commission in 1902. For Cleveland he recommended a civic centre, where the public buildings would be placed in a system of interlinked public parks on a lakeshore. Realisation of the plan meant that - as in Chicago - whole slums had to be swept aside; here the critics of the City Beautiful movements claiming that the whole movement was in fact a segregator from an upper-middle class perspective would have had their field day. (P. Hall 2002, 192.)
In his plan for San Francisco in 1906, Burnham proposed amongst other things a continuous park strip starting from the western part of city, leading to the Golden Gate Park. This plan, which contained grand boulevards, was realised only in some fragments. (ibid., 192.)
From City Beautiful to City Practical: reform parks
The City beautiful planning thread as perfected or perverted in the embodiment of Daniel Burnham containing civic centres, large parks and large boulevards was modified into City practical planning by such planners as Charles Mulford Robinson (1869-1917), John Nolen (1869-1937) and Frederick Law Olmsted junior (1870-1957) with more concern to sanitary, social and health issues, housing conditions and traffic (Krueckeberg 1983, 280). Nolen, influenced by the Garden City ideals, maintained that the City beautification methods applied by his contemporaries were fatal. Instead he stressed social problems which were overlooked by the City Beautiful movement, suggesting that an adequate amount of open spaces to guarantee daily exercise was essential, and not only large city parks were sufficient for this but an easy enough access for everyone to local recreation areas had to be secured, thinking with Olmsted junior cities as complexes of interrelated neighbourhood parks (ibid., 72-98).
In the 1907 City plan for St. Louis the Committee on Civic Centers of the St. Louis League suggested purchasing and developing public parks. (ibid., 73-74.) Benjamin C. Marsh, Secretary of the Congestion of Population Commission, concerned about congestion of population in large cities, suggesting e.g. adequate provision of parks, playgrounds and open spaces (ibid. 84-90).
The early 20th century “reform parks” were to organize activities, since the masses were considered incapable of undertaking their own recreation. Users of reform parks were mainly children and men from working class. The early reform parks were often called as playgrounds as they were considered to be safer environments for children as streets. The launch of these parks was sometimes thought to solve neighbourhood problems, often established at unused land resorts given as donations. (Cranz 1982., 61-81.) When earlier parks were promoted as places of tranquillity, these parks were often lively and rather noisy places (ibid., 98-99).
The economical imperative: essential parks
Since the economic recession of the 1930s, social reformism was removed from American park programming. Park officials claimed that parks needed not to be justified any more as they had become from luxuries to essential, fundamental and basic. This led in practice to the collapse of public spending into parks as now they had to justified. Financiation of American city parks relied more on private philanthropy. (Cranz 1982, 101-103; 176-178.)
The multiple use recreational parks
Since the 50s, the park planning was dominated by the recreativism, stressing the public health effects of parks. This philosophy is characterised by “multiplication of offerings, justification by demand and defensiveness of orientation”. This led in practice to the decrease of open space available for recreation. (ibid., 133-135.)
“If the pleasure ground had been a pious patriarch, the reform park a social worker, and the recreation park facility a waitress or a car mechanic, the new park was something of a performance artist” (Cranz 1982, 138).
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