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Little Island is a $260 million park and performance space, largely funded by media mogul Barry Diller, built on stilts in the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan.

Little Island is a $260 million park and performance space, largely funded by media mogul Barry Diller, built on stilts in the Hudson River in Lower Manhattan.

Photographer: Gary Hershorn/Corbis News vi Getty Images

CityLab
Design

The Irresistible Appeal of the ‘Post-Industrial Park’

In Parks for Profit, a sociologist argues that glitzy urban parks that rely on private funders can trigger displacement and drain resources from other public spaces. 

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An on-again, off-again romance smolders between nature and the American city. It’s complicated.

The original matchmaker was 19th century landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted, whose picturesque green spaces like New York City’s Central Park offered urbanites an idealized experience of nature. During the Great Depression, the Works Progress Administration built smaller neighborhood parks for the industrial working classes (though these, of course, were racially segregated and unequal).