Segments in this Video

Unexpected Purposes (01:56)


Geoffrey Baer gives a preview of the ten American parks he will present. Each park embodies a different innovative approach to urban design.

Squares of Savannah: Savannah, GA (04:15)

Europe reserved such parks for the wealthy. The Squares of Savannah were intended for public use, fitting the charitable nature of the colony of Georgia. The Square also featured water pumps, city meetings, and ovens for bread-baking.

Fairmount Park: Philadelphia, PA (04:04)

In Philadelphia, the Fairmount Park was built to aid in water conservation. Because of a shortage and an outbreak of yellow fever, it became imperative that clean water be distributed. Through the park, the drinking water is drawn from the Schuylkill River.

Mt. Auburn Cemetery: Cambridge, MA (04:22)

The Mount Auburn Cemetery was not like the dismal, unsanitary burial grounds of the 19th century. Dr. Jacob Bigelow of Harvard and his friends wanted to create a dignified burial ground that also benefited the living. The cemetery established a new standard for cemeteries across the United States.

Central Park: New York, NY (06:28)

By the mid-19th century, New York City was the largest city in the western hemisphere. In an attempt to unite the diverse people in a public space, Central Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux. Birkenhead Park in England inspired Olmsted.

Chicago's Neighborhood Parks: Chicago, IL (04:59)

In Chicago, a system of parks provided places for English lessons, civics classes, and other resources for immigrants. J. Frank Foster wanted to address the problems of poverty in Chicago. He created a system of parks that allowed people to stay close to home and employed Olmsted's sons to design it.

San Antonio River Walk: San Antonio, TX (05:01)

The Great Flood of 1921 killed more than 50 people. Architect Robert Hugman designed the San Antonio River Walk, both to keep the waters at bay and to allow visitors to experience a radically different environment than the rest of the city.

Overtown Park: Memphis, TN (04:30)

As the interstate highway system took over the United States, parks were dismantled and disfigured to support the new infrastructure. Overtown Park in Memphis, Tennessee was saved by activists who felt that a six lane freeway would have segregated the park.

Freeway Park: Seattle, WA (05:41)

Paul Thiry encouraged the city council to create a park on top of a freeway that divided the residential and corporate areas of Seattle. Lawrence Halprin designed a park using lightweight soil only a foot deep in most locations; trees sit in large planters. Concrete water fountains drown out the roar from traffic below.

Gas Works Park: Seattle, WA (06:03)

Richard Haag re-purposed remnants of the former Seattle Gas Light Company gasification plant to design the park. Using bio-phytoremediation, the landscape architect created soil from the toxic sludge. The towers that existed on the site have been turned into picnic areas and playgrounds for children.

High Line: New York, NY (07:00)

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan's West Side. Joshua David and Robert Hammond created "Friends of the High Line," a grassroots campaign. Ricardo Scofidio and Elizabeth Diller describe their contributions and process.

Credits: 10 Parks that Changed America (00:29)

Credits: 10 Parks that Changed America

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

10 Parks that Changed America

Part of the Series : 10 That Changed America
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



10 Parks that Changed America tells the story of ten visionaries who took open canvases of God-forsaken land, and transformed them into serene spaces that offer city dwellers a respite from the hustle and bustle of urban life. From the elegant squares of Savannah, Georgia, to a park built over a freeway in Seattle, to the more recent High Line in New York, each story introduces the heroes who brought these parks to life, and the villains who preferred to exploit the land for private enterprise. Discover the evolution of our nation’s city parks, and learn the history of landscape architecture—an American-born art in which human beings try their best to mimic nature.

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL129834

Copyright date: ©2016

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

10 Parks that Changed America

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video, Dealer and Publisher customers.

Only available in USA and Canada.