Early Conservation Efforts and America’s Urban Parks

3 years ago

As the final day of National Parks Week has arrived, we reflect on the amazing contributions of the father of American landscape architecture, Frederick Law Olmsted. Born in 1822, Olmsted is credited with designing some of our nation’s most beloved landscapes, urban parks and academic institutions.

A visionary, his career in landscape architecture began in 1857 when Calvert Vaux convinced him to work on the design of Central Park in New York City. A modest man, he considered himself a public servant with the task of shaping cities by stabilizing environments. The goal being to keep nature in cities. Through collaborations with engineers and architects he made scenic landscapes appear naturally occurring while repairing the watersheds and marshes to connect public parks with winding pathways to extend the benefits of green spaces.

Over his lifetime, he was asked to carry out over 500 commissions. He believed nature offered healing effects on individuals by relieving the pressures of urban life, and that public parks are essential to the ideal of democracy. The hour-long documentary, “Olmsted and America’s Urban Parks” explores the early conservation efforts and the formation of America’s first parks during the late 19th century.

Watch the documentary, here


Tamar Burton



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