Urban oasis

From ArticleWorld

An urban oasis is defined as any kind of open space in a city that is used on a daily basis by residents for relaxation, meeting people, exercise, or cultural activities. Famous urban oases are New York City's Central Park and London's Hyde Park, and Lhasa's Norbulingkha. Though parks are the most common urban oases, plazas, waterfronts and other planned open spaces can all be designated as such.

Urban oases are thought to be essential to city-life, because they provide respite from the fast pace, crowded streets, noise and dust, and form a focal point where people converge, meet, and spend leisure time. In addition, an urban oasis often becomes an iconic symbol of a city, helping create a common identity and cultural turning point for its residents. The term 'lungs of the city', popularised by Fredrick Law Olmsted who designed Central Park and other classic oases, often sums up the main perceived benefit of such a space – green, curtained off by trees and other sound-barriers, a park becomes an antidote to the various kinds of pollution in a city and when large enough can significantly improve air quality.

Plazas and waterfronts provide a site for leisure-related commercial activities for small businesses and individuals, for example concessions at a farmers' market or art and handicraft market.

An urban oasis thus fulfils many pivotal roles in city life, providing environmental, cultural, and commerical benefit.