Journal of Planning History
Landscape architecture -- United States -- History
The role that parks played in Manhattan changed dramatically during the antebellum period. Originally dismissed as unnecessary on an island embraced by rivers, parks became a tool for real estate development and gentrification in the 1830s. By the 1850s, politicians, journalists, and landscape architects believed Central Park could be a social salve for a city with rising crime rates, increasingly visible poverty, and deepening class divisions. While many factors (public health, the psychological need for parks, and property values) would remain the same, the changing social conversation showed how ideas of public space were transforming, in rhetoric if not reality.
McNeur, Catherine, "Parks, People, and Property Values: The Changing Role of Green Spaces in Antebellum Manhattan" (2017). History Faculty Publications and Presentations. 34.