National Geographic : 2016 Apr
104 national geographic • April 2016 the public as well as more oversight by regula- tors, said Adrian Benepe, the director of city park development for the Trust for Public Land and former New York City parks commissioner. Compounding the problem is the hunt for mon- ey to transform the bits and pieces of postin- dustrial landscape into parklands. “There is a struggle because the cities are also paying for health care and education,” Benepe said. “Often the parks are the last priority.” What’s emerging, he said, is a model more reliant on working with the private sector, both for building parks and for operating them. In Tulsa, Oklahoma, for ex- ample, a foundation created from oil and bank- ing wealth has donated $200 million toward a $350 million community park on the Arkansas River. In Newark, New Jersey, Benepe’s group worked with government and business leaders to bring a park to once contaminated property along the Passaic River. Perhaps the world’s most ambitious urban park run with this entrepreneurial mind-set is the Presidio, the former Army base that is part of Golden Gate Recreation Area but oper- ates separately. Situated at the entrance to San Francisco Bay, the Presidio was first claimed by Spain, then Mexico, and finally, in 1846, by the United States. Peace did what wars could not, and in 1989 the Presidio was deemed unneces- sary to the national defense, and the base—1,491 acres of barracks, buildings, valleys, and breath- taking vistas—was closed. In 1994 it was transferred to the Park Service. Unlike other national parks, the Presidio has its own board of directors and now raises all its own revenue, mainly by leasing out the former military housing as well as the hospital and ad- ministrative buildings to residential and com- mercial tenants. The private businesses employ about 4,000 people, and more than 3,500 live on 2005 CHEONGGYECHEON SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA Commuters listen to a band on a pedestrian bridge spanning the park. The stream, although important to the city’s culture and development, was intermittent, dwindling to a rivulet at times. To ensure a constant flow, more than 30 million gallons of water is pumped in daily from the nearby Han River. Most residents view that artificiality as an acceptable trade-off for the serenity the park brings to the city.