Olmsted and America's Urban Parks

About This Episode


One hundred and fifty-one years after Frederick Law Olmsted, with Calvert Vaux, designed New York City’s Central Park, it remains an undisputed haven of tranquility amidst one of the largest, tallest, and most unnatural places on earth. Olmsted and America's Urban Parks examines the formation of America’s first great city parks in the late 19th century through the enigmatic eyes of Olmsted, visionary urban planner and landscape architect.

With incredible foresight that spanned centuries, Olmsted brought nourishing green spaces to New York, Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, Louisville, and dozens of other US cities. Throughout his working life, he and his firm carried out over 500 commissions, nearly 100 of which were public parks. The parks were to be vital democratic spaces in cities, where citizens from all walks of life could intermingle and be refreshed. Olmsted and America's Urban Parks weaves together his engaging and poignant personal story with those of the lasting masterpieces he left for us today.