Page:Olmsted report on Portland, Oregon parks, 1903.djvu/2

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14
REPORT OF THE PARK BOARD

vision of parks in a city is one of the surest manifestations of the intelligence, degree of civilization and progressiveness of its citlzens.

2—Duty of Citizens Toward Parks.

It is constantly becoming more generally and more clearly realized that every inhabitant of a city owes to it, in return for benefits and advantages derived from it, certain duties not specifically compulsory according to law. Among such duties is that of aiding in every possible way to make the city more beautiful and more agreeable to live in and work in, and more attractive to strangers.

While there are many things, both small and great, which may contribute to the beauty of a great city, unquestionably one of the greatest is a comprehensive system of parks and parkways.

3—Parks and Park Purposes Should Be Defined in Advance—Park Units.

As in the case of almost every complex work composed of varled units, economy, efficiency, symmetry and completeness are likely to be secured only when the system as a whole is planned comprehensively and the purposes to be accomplished defined clearly in advance. Otherwise. valuable opportunities may be overlooked, disproportionate efforts may be expended in the accomplishment of particular objects of relatively mlnor importance while others more vital may be ignored or sllghted. Limited means may be expended on the less important purposes leaving more essential features unprovided tor.

In order to determine upon a comprehensive system of parks it is first necessary to define and classify the various units of which the system is to be composed, even though it may not be practicable to carry out these ideas in all cases. The units of a park system generally recognized are city squares, play grounds, small or neighborhood parks, large or suburban parks, scenic reservations, boulevards and parkways.

City squares are comparatively small, ornamental grounds, usually dominated by surrounding buildings and necessarily more or less intimately related to surrounding and abutting streets. They are usually flat or simple in topography. They are consequently overlooked by people in surrounding buildings and streets, are much used by people who although they pass through them are bound elsewhere and, in other ways, they are more distinctly ornamental incidents of daily city lite and of urban conditions than are larger parks. Hence they are usually and most appropriately improved formally and symmetrically and often with prominent architectural and sculptural features. They