By Ben Welle, City Parks Blog
Planners have long held up the idea of connectivity – links between people and places that tie everything together. Within park systems, the concept goes back at least to when the walls of European cities came down, as many of them (e.g. Paris), were turned into grand boulevards ringing their cities and linking up places. And when the American park movement was in full swing in the late 1800s, park planners in nearly every city were laying down parkways between green spaces — think Boston’s Emerald Necklace, the Grand Rounds of Minneapolis, and others in Louisville, Denver, Kansas City and Chicago to name a few.
We've written before about how many of these spaces have been retrofitted probably too much for automobile use, and described the ways to refit them back for more rambling and two-wheeling. But another issue is present today — that many places still aspire for connectivity between parks but seem unable to do it because streets have been laid and the city built out. For instance, in Hartford, Conn., a parkway system was once envisioned but never implemented, and the dream of connections seemingly lost.
But this isn’t necessarily the case. There are a variety of ways to make connections that even the most built-out cities can do. Based on what we’ve seen, here are a few ways:
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Image: A conceptual plan shows how a network of riverfront trails (partially completed), easements and street upgrades could connect Hartford's parks.