National Geographic : 2016 Apr
100 national geographic • April 2016 the Pacific Ocean. The stuccoed developments of suburban Pacifica press in on the ridge and its rolling carpet of scrub and coastal prairie. At the height of the Cold War this was a mis- sile base, with barbed wire and guard dogs. The ridge eventually made its way into the fold of Golden Gate. Jutting up above a sea of housing, it’s become a serene and defiant island, a refuge for threatened species such as the California red-legged frog. Last year, in anticipation of its 100th anni- versary, the National Park Service released its “Urban Agenda,” which is a continuation, al- though with more urgency, of earlier calls to action begun in the 1970s. What the report makes clear is that it is good business and—with America’s demographics changing rapidly—good politics to make the agency more relevant to an increasingly urban and diverse America. One place where this new order is playing out is Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, which nestles up to the steel mills along Lake Mich- igan in northwest Indiana and stretches into the largely hidden beachfront of Gary, one of America’s poorest cities. “Big parks deliver the wealthy, white, rich people,” said Paul Labovitz, the park’s superintendent. But the future of the Park Service means cultivating new visitors, and that’s easier for the urban parks. Because they are newer, Labovitz said, they have fewer tradi- tions to get in the way of experimentation. The iconic urban parks with their straight borders and square shoulders aren’t going away. They are treasured in cities around the world. But the orderly layout they require is harder to find in places that are already built-up. So our newer urban parks, in the United States and beyond, reflect the challenges of acquiring and developing land. There’s now more review from 1955 SILESIA PARK CHORZÓW, POLAND Wrested out of a wasteland of slag heaps, bootleg mines, and garbage dumps, this postindustrial landscape was transformed into a verdant area that includes a zoo and a dinosaur valley. Much of the work was done by volunteers coordinated by the Communist Party. In southern Poland’s urban core, the park is an inviting place for young people such as Maja Peryga (right), who visited the rose garden to photograph a friend.