The health rationale for urban parks in the nineteenth century in the USA
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Urban parks in the USA sprang from multiple influences, but the belief that they would contribute to improved health has not previously received detailed attention in the parks literature. They emerged in the industrial cities where squalor and filth characterised living conditions. Taking their lead from peers in the UK, the US medical community believed these conditions created miasmas (obnoxious gases) that were the source of all diseases. Urban parks were perceived to provide oxygenised oases that offered protection against miasmas. Thus, they were viewed by government entities as contributing to reducing societal costs associated with pauperism and lost labour productivity, while individuals viewed parks as offering a defence against disease contagion and epidemics. © 2013 World Leisure Organization.
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