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 Frederick Law Olmsted and the Necessity of Urban Parks


Throughout his career, pioneering landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted created naturalistic masterpieces like the Arnold Arboretum through a guiding set of principles, including a strong belief in the essential benefits of parkland to urban health and democracy. His passion on this subject played a decisive role in Harvard University's decision to give the Arboretum's land to the City of Boston and open its gates permanently to everyone, free of charge. "It is a scientific fact," Olmsted wrote, "that the occasional contemplation of natural scenes of an impressive character, particularly if this contemplation occurs in connection with relief from ordinary cares, change of air, and change of habits, is favorable to health and vigor." Olmsted's handiwork has been carefully preserved at the Arboretum, along with its potential to restore, recharge, and reconnect us to the natural world. Our 281-acre landscape is open dawn to dusk, and you are welcome to explore its beauty safely and responsibly. more »