Race and the Controls of Public Parks

By definition the term public means a place that all have unrestricted access to. In the case of a public park, this place is viewed as a shared resource for all to engage in the life of the city and a variety of planned and spontaneous recreational activities. This view, while technically accurate, does not necessarily reflect the far more nuanced reality of public parks. The myth that all are welcome ignores the ways in which aspects of the design, creation, programming, use, and alteration/renovation of public parks can reinforce divisions, both physical and perceived, between populations. It's with this understanding of design and division that this publication explores the relationship of racial segregation in the city of Dallas and the development of the city's park system, over the past 100 years.