Parks for the People: The Life of Fredrick Law Olmsted
Growing up on a Connecticut farm in the 1800s, Frederick Olmsted loved roaming the outdoors. A contest to design the nation’s first city park opened new doors for Olmsted when his winning design became New York’s Central Park, just one of Olmsted's ideas that changed our nation's cities. Award-winning author Julie Dunlap brings Olmsted to life in this wonderful biography.
Pick a Park
Central Park is vital to the health and well being of New Yorkers. It gives them a place to escape the noise of the city and breathe fresh air. But New York is certainly not the only major city that benefits from a park.
Pick a city and research its parks or park system. Who designed it and when? How have the citizens of the city benefited from the park? Compile your findings into a PowerPoint presentation or poster board and present them to the class.
Olmsted and his partners entered their design for Central Park in a contest and won. Now it's your turn.
Design a park for your city, another major city, or a city of your own invention. Then, write a short essay about why each feature is beneficial for the citizens who will use it.
Olmsted's desire to preserve his beautiful park took all the fun out of it for visitors. On page 63, you can see the political cartoon criticizing the restrictions and rules in the early days of Central Park. Why do you think this was an effective form of protest against these rules?
Think about a rule in your school or community that needs to be changed. Draw a political cartoon showing that rule's effect on students or residents, then write a paragraph to explain your thinking in depth.