PART IV: Notes on Parks and Recreation Facilities|
Pittsburgh: Main Thoroughfares and The Down Town District
Frederick Law Olmsted report to The Pittsburgh Civic Commission, 1910
GENERAL DISCUSSION OF PARKS
In any city closely built over a large area, public parks or recreation grounds become one of the most urgent civic needs, if the health and vigor of the people are to be maintained. And the most important classes to provide for are the children and the women of the wage-earning families; most important, not only because of their numbers and of the direct influence of their health and vigor upon the efficiency of the coming generation, but also because they, least of all, have energy and opportunity to seek out healthful recreation at a distance. Normally it requires two distinct kinds of recreation grounds to supply the needs of these people, -- the local or neighborhood park for frequent and regular use, and the rural park for occasional holiday enjoyment.
The size and form and character most desirable for neighborhood recreation grounds depend upon the functions to be performed by each. Some of the activities in the best developed playgrounds, as for example in Chicago, are these: (1) The playing of little children in sandpiles and upon the lawn, under the watchful guidance of an attendant who not only keeps them out of danger and mischief, but plays with them, tells them stories and stimulates the healthy activity of their little minds and bodies. Here the mothers may come with their children and remain to watch them play or leave them in safety. A plot one hundred feet square may be of value for such uses. (2) For boys of larger growth and men and for girls and women, the more active games with and without apparatus in the open air and under cover, always with opportunity and inducement to bathe, and, if possible, with a swimming-pool. Sometimes space is found for the big field games and regular athletic sports on a running track; sometimes for nothing that takes more space than basketball. (3) For the older and the less active people, pleasant shaded walks for strolling and benches to sit upon amid agreeable surroundings, with opportunity to see the youngsters play, and once or twice a week, perhaps, to enjoy a band concert. (4) For the use of all, a field house where the sanitary accommodations are kept to a standard of cleanliness and order that sets a good example to the neighborhood, where a reading-room branch of the public library is available, and in which one or more large rooms are at the disposal of the