San Francisco – Golden Gate Park

Golden Gate Park is the home of the Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Half Marathon, run in February, and regular weekend races organized by the Dolphin South End Runners

There are obvious similarities between GGP and Central Park in New York: shape and size, both oasis in a concrete desert and homes to cultural buildings and monuments. Curiosity leads the more nerdy of us to check the size of each, which reveals that GGP is 20% bigger than its Manhattan counterpart, and that leads on to the question as to whether the Golden Gate Park is amongst the largest urban parks in the world. If you believe the Wikipedia link which lists urban parks by size, then not even close. But hold on a moment: the largest park on the list is Serra de Cantereira, which is a whopping 160,000 acres, or 160 times the surface of GGP. Now let’s get serious: ok, Sao Paulo is a huge sprawling city, but this park is about 15 miles north of the city center, and is not surrounded by built up areas on all sides. Another example, Table Mountain National Park in South Africa, 60 times larger than GGP. But again, it is a push to call that a urban park. So I guess we need to redefine an urban park: for me, an urban park would be a park surrounded by built-up areas on all sides, and probably relatively close to a city center where the value of the land form a real estate perspective makes the park’s existence a minor miracle (thanks to the conservation organizations) Topanga State Park (11,000 acres, in Los Angeles) is considered by some to be the largest park within the confines of city limits, but again, it can’t really be considered as being close to downtown. In any case, as you work down the list, you will note that there are many urban parks larger than GGP, both in USA, and even in Europe (Casa de Campo, Bois de boulogne, Bois de Vincennes)

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