Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/12

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24
REPORT OF THE PARK BOARD

The determination of the boundaries of a park is often very intimately related to radical questions of design. The boundaries adopted for a park are often the boundaries used by the previous private owners and in the West almost all such boundaries are the straight lines of the original government land surveys or of subdivisions based upon them and which are generally purely arbitrary rectangular boundaries bearing no harmonious relation with the topography except in the few cases where the land is flat. Such arbitrary rectangular boundaries are often hideous misfits with respect to the local topography, particularly if. as is often the case, the site has been selected for a park because of its strongly marked topography. Such arbitrary boundaries are also sometimes badly out of accord with certain requirements of a good design for the improvement of the particular ground in question. The artist painter usually selects a size and shape for his picture with regard to the subject he has in mind. But having done this he has a free field for his imagination to work upon. The design of a park, on the other hand, must usually be based on more or less controlling topographical considerations. For instance, if the local scenery led to the location of a park in a ravine, the boundaries should include both sides of the ravine and land enough on the top for a boundary street; if it is a small lake, the boundaries should include a sufficient border of land around the lake for the framing plantations and boundary street; if it is a view commanding hill the boundaries should be far enough below the summit to prevent obstruction of the view by trees which may grow or houses which may be erected on adjoining properties, and so on. Such obvious requirements are frequently disregarded in selecting the lands and in determining the boundaries of parks and pathways.

It is as necessary for good effect for a park to be surrounded by streets as for a public building of monumental design to be on ground so surrounded.

A border plantation is usually an essential feature of a park. It frames and completes the park landscapes and excludes incongruous and ugly things outside the park from the beautiful things in it.

Within their framing border plantations, parks vary so much in what they include that generalization is hardly possible, but in most cases a properly designed park will have various parts developed for different purposes and in different styles.

There will often be a large section of a park devoted to a great meadow, another section devoted to a lake, another devoted to rough woodland scenery, another devoted to a conservatory with gardenesqne treatment of its surroundings, another section may be devoted to a