Shelby Farms Park: Elevating a City: The Improbable Journey of America's Great 21st Century Urban Park

Shelby Farms Park: Elevating a City: The Improbable Journey of America's Great 21st Century Urban Park


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This is the unlikely and inspiring story of how a sprawling footprint of a former prison became a leading American park.

At 4,500 acres, the Shelby Farms Park in Memphis, Tennessee, is the largest urban park in the United States—more than five times the size of New York's Central Park. This book about the vision, process, benchmarks and priorities that led to the building of this great park show how people with vision can change a community, and how support from the public can protect land for future generations.

Written by Tom Jones with contributions by nationally known park experts and Shelby Farms Park leaders, including James Corner, Alex Garvin, Peter Harnik and Laura Morris, Shelby Farms Park: Elevating a City includes stunning photography by Justin Fox Burks and Murray Riss.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780997355925
Publisher: Susan Schadt Press
Publication date: 11/20/2017
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 12.20(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Tom Jones writes a monthly City Journal column for Memphis magazine and the Smart City Memphis blog, recognized by the Pew Partnership for Civic Change as “one of the most engaging” civic-minded blogs in the U.S. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

James Corner, Founder and Director of James Corner Field Operations, a leading-edge urban design, landscape architecture and public realm practice based in New York City. Author of The High Line, his major projects include the High Line in New York, Seattle's Central Waterfront, Tsim Sha Tsui Waterfront in Hong Kong, Chicago's Navy Pier, the Civic Center Parks in Santa Monica, and Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Susan Schadt, from Memphis and New Orleans, is Editor and Publisher, founder of Wild Abundance Publishing and Susan Schadt Press.

Peter Harnik, Director of The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence has led numerous research projects into what makes for great park systems. His book, Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities, was named one of the five best books of 2011 by the American Society of Landscape Architects’ blog.

Alex Garvin, President and CEO of of AGA Public Realm Strategists, Inc., a planning and design firm in New York City that is responsible for the initial master plans for the Atlanta BeltLine, Austin’s Tessera and Hinton Park in Collierville, Tennessee.

Marlon Blackwell serves as Distinguished Professor and Department Head in the Fay Jones School of Architecture at the University of Arkansas. His work has received numerous national and international design awards and significant publication in books, architectural journals and magazines.

Kimball Musk, Entrepreneur, Environmentalist, Owner of The Kitchen Cafe, LLC, a family of community restaurants located in Boulder, Fort Collins, Denver, Glendale, Chicago and Memphis. He co-founded The Kitchen Community, a nonprofit that brings outdoor vegetable gardens called "Learning Gardens" to schoolyards and community spaces.

Tim Marshall, Principal and Owner, ETM Associates, Highland Park, NJ has been involved with public space management for 30 years.Served as the Deputy Administrator and Vice President for New York City’s Central Park Conservancy where he was involved in the development of the Central Park Restoration and Management Plan.

Laura Morris, Joined Shelby Farms Park Conservancy in 2007 after serving as the chair for the Shelby Farms Park Alliance. She was the conservancy’s executive director from 2010-2016.

Jennifer Andrews, Executive Director of Shelby Farms Park Conservancy was hired in 2006 as the first employee of the Conservancy and was formerly Director of Development and Communications.

Justin Burks, Memphis, professional freelance photographer since 1998, he has worked with GQ, MTV, the American Lung Association, Rhodes College, and London-based Mojo magazine.

Murray Riss works on collections held by the Art Institute of Chicago, the George Eastman House, Bibliotheque Nationale (Paris), New Orleans Museum of Art, in group shows at the Museum of Modern Art (New York), Santa Fe Center for Photography, Harvard University, and the Photographers Gallery (London). He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Here, then, is the story of the park space that is putting Memphis on the national map – the map of healthy, environmentally sustainable, beautiful, conserving, historical and enlivening spaces that Americans increasingly want and demand for their urban lifestyles. Shelby Farms Park – a landscape for the ages.” - Peter Harnik, San Francisco, Director, Trust for Public’s Land Center for City Park Excellence

“Shelby Farms Park is a “real place” and The Kitchen restaurants there are at a magical site. When the park was still just a grand idea a decade ago, its advocates promoted its potential as a place to build the bonds of community. It is obvious that our values at The Kitchen spring from the same place, and acting on them, we will create something unique in the entire county.” Kimbal Musk, Boulder, Co-founder of The Kitchen Café restaurants located in Boulder, Fort Collins, Denver, Glendale, Chicago and Memphis and The Kitchen Community, a nonprofit that brings outdoor "Learning Gardens" to schoolyards and community spaces.

“Because the citizens of Shelby County now own this land – and since the good Lord isn’t creating any more – and because our Metropolitan Area is growing so rapidly, we should never let it leave the ownership of the people of this county…(if) we have let this precious and irreplaceable acreage get away from us, it will be gone forever: we will have denied a legacy to future generations that cannot be forgiven. It is my earnest belief that it would be a mistake to sell one square inch of this property.” 1973, Abe Plough, Philanthropist and founder of Schering-Plough & the Plough Foundation.

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