Density, public health and safety, quality of life, and sustainability are some of the most confounding issues that major cities face today as they expand in population and area. How do we bring urban populations closer together in the public realm, while still providing space for the individual psyche and also increasing the overall sense of positive connection to the natural world and to each other? Robust natural landscapes have sometimes been considered a luxury within a functioning city, but more and more they are being recognized for the vital role they play in making cities livable. The story of Corktown Common relates how a landscape built of necessity was also designed to deliver myriad public benefits, including enhanced urban ecology and sustainability.

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Author notes

1. Principal, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc., 231 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138,, [email protected].