14 Urban Gardens Around the World That Inspired Us

These urban gardens are true symbols of urban revitalization and redevelopment

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By Leu

Best urban parks in the world

Here are some notable examples among the best urban gardens in the world: sometimes vertical gardens, other times green roofs or vegetal installations designed to make urban space and design as balanced with nature as possible.

The Importance of Greenery in Cities

Urban parks’ greenery acts as an essential source of fresh air for those living in densely populated metropolitan areas. They provide an opportunity to reconnect with a natural space of tranquility for resting, engaging in physical activity, allowing children to play, and getting away from the stress accumulated and amplified by the concrete and typical traffic of big cities.

Urban gardens serve as crucial catalysts for urban regeneration, fostering community engagement and environmental sustainability in city landscapes.

The Benefits of Urban Gardens

A public urban garden is essential for the quality of life in the city, not only for aesthetics but for the numerous environmental, social, psychological, and economic benefits it brings to residents.

Environmental benefits include:

  1. Improvement of air quality: Plants absorb atmospheric pollutants and CO2, producing oxygen through photosynthesis.
  2. Climate regulation: They help reduce the urban heat island effect by providing shade and cooling the air through plant transpiration.
  3. Biodiversity conservation: Urban green spaces serve as habitats for many plant, animal, and insect species, thus contributing to maintaining biodiversity in cities.
  4. Stormwater management: They help absorb excess rainwater, reducing surface runoff and the risk of flooding in streets and buildings.

Social and psychological benefits include:

  1. Recreation and relaxation: Parks and gardens are ideal places for exercise, children’s play, and relaxation, contributing to the physical and mental well-being of citizens.
  2. Social inclusion and community cohesion: They foster encounters and interactions among people of different ages and social backgrounds, strengthening the sense of community.
  3. Stress reduction: Contact with nature helps decrease stress levels and improve mood.
  4. Health benefits: Studies have shown that access to urban green spaces is associated with improvements in mental health, reduced obesity, and increased lifespan.

Indirect Benefits of Urban Gardens

Connected to urban green spaces, there are also numerous economic benefits, although not always immediately evident:

  1. Increase in property value: Properties near parks and green spaces tend to increase in value compared to areas with less greenery.
  2. Tourism: Some parks also serve as tourist attractions, contributing to the local economy.
  3. Reduction of healthcare costs: Living near green spaces and engaging with them leads to better air quality and a healthier lifestyle, ultimately reducing healthcare costs in the long run.

There are also some benefits related to urban green areas that apply to the fields of education and culture, which are fundamental but not immediately visible:

  1. Environmental education: They can be used for educational programs on sustainable practices and the importance of nature conservation.
  2. Cultural heritage: Many parks have historical and cultural value, especially those designed by renowned architects and landscapers, becoming cultural landmarks of the city.

The World’s Best Urban Gardens: Our Ranking

Many metropolises have preserved one or more parks, perhaps as part of an Italian-style garden that adorned a noble villa now in the city center, such as the Boboli Gardens in Florence, or as the magnificent example of a French garden like the Tuileries in Paris.

But they can also be built anew according to the newest gardening and urban green ideas, or as a result of the conversion of disused places, like New York’s High Line, where a metro line used to pass.

These elements make cities greener and more livable, often becoming important symbols of the city’s own redevelopment and sustainability.

Below, we present our selection of historic or ultra-modern urban gardens and parks, created both on building rooftops and in the heart of the city, reclaimed spaces or designed as part of the urban landscape.

Gardens by the Bay (Singapore)

A part of Singapore’s transformation into a “city in a garden,” featuring various green installations like Cloud Mountain and Supertree Grove, aiming to enhance the quality of life through nature and flora.

best urban parks in the world
Gardens by the Bay in Singapore showcase innovative horticulture and sustainable design, making it a must-visit urban oasis.

Kew Gardens in London (United Kingdom)

Known as Kew Gardens, a UNESCO World Heritage site, boasting one of the world’s largest and most diverse plant collections, including tropical greenhouses and botanical gardens, curated for nearly two centuries.

best urban gardens in the world
Kew Gardens in London boast an extraordinary collection of plants and stunning botanical landscapes.

Boboli Gardens in Florence (Italy)

Considered among the world’s most beautiful historic gardens, situated behind Palazzo Pitti, featuring Italian Renaissance design with statues, fountains, and a scenic amphitheater, offering a lush green retreat in Florence’s heart.

best urban gardens in the world
The Boboli Gardens in Florence are a splendid example of an Italian garden with statues, grottos, fountains, a lake, and an ancient amphitheater.

Acros Building in Fukuoka (Japan)

An environmentally conscious modern structure featuring a massive rooftop garden with approximately 35,000 plants, providing temperature regulation and energy efficiency, along with office spaces, residences, and recreational areas.

The best urban gardens in the world: the ACROS building in Fukuoka.
The best urban gardens in the world: the ACROS building in Fukuoka.

Güell Park in Barcelona (Spain)

A whimsical garden designed by architect Antoni Gaudí in the early 20th century, famous for its colorful structures, mosaics, and unique architectural forms, attracting visitors with its artistic charm.

best urban gardens in the world
Güell Park in Barcelona is a whimsical masterpiece designed by Antoni Gaudí, renowned for its vibrant mosaics and unique architecture.

Central Park in New York (USA)

The iconic urban park in Manhattan, offering vast green spaces, lakes, wooded paths, and sports fields in the heart of New York City, serving as a historic landmark and recreational haven.

best urban gardens in the world: central park NY
Aerial View of the iconic Central Park in NY

Nanyang University (Singapore)

A five-story university building with a glass facade designed to incorporate natural light and greenery, blending landscape with innovative design for energy efficiency and well-being.

best urban gardens in the world
This architectural marvel seamlessly integrates natural surroundings with the building, blending nature with cutting-edge design principles.

High Line Park in New York (USA)

One of our favorite projects. A revitalized elevated railway turned into a linear park, offering walking trails, greenery, and urban views along Manhattan’s West Side, representing a shining example of urban redevelopment.

best urban gardens in the world
The High Line in New York City repurposes an old elevated railway into a stunning linear park, offering scenic views and urban greenery.

California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco (USA)

One of the eco-friendly museums that incorporates different concepts of sustainability, the California Academy of Sciences features a massive 50,000-square-meter green roof covered with grasses, designed by architect Renzo Piano for thermal insulation and rainwater capture, complemented by efficient solar panels and biodiversity.

Ibirapuera Park in São Paulo (Brazil)

Designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, this green oasis in São Paulo serves as both a natural park and cultural hub, hosting museums, concerts, and outdoor activities, attracting millions of visitors annually.

Rikugien Garden in Tokyo (Japan)

A traditional Japanese garden offering miniature landscapes inspired by Japanese poetry, meticulously maintained and featuring a souvenir stamp tradition for visitors, providing a serene retreat in bustling Tokyo.

best urban gardens in the world: Rikugien Garden in Tokyo
The magnificient Rikugien Garden in Tokyo

Namba Park in Osaka (Japan)

A mixed-use complex designed by architect Jon Jerde, resembling a natural landscape with green roofs, garden terraces, and harmonious architectural forms, creating a unique urban environment in Osaka.

Best urban gardens worldwide: Namba Park Osaka
An architectural marvel: Namba Park, Osaka

Park Royal Hotel’s Sky Gardens (Singapore)

A luxury hotel with contemporary design featuring lush terraces and green gardens, offering private waterfalls and local flora, contributing to Singapore’s skyline and natural appeal.

best urban gradens in the world

Awaji Yumebutai in Hyogo (Japan)

A unique terraced garden complex designed by Tadao Ando to restore the environment after the 1995 earthquake, showcasing native flora and terraced landscapes, serving as a memorable landmark in Hyogo.

best urban gardens in the world - Awaji Yumebutai in Hyogo, Japan
Awaji Yumebutai in Hyogo is a unique terraced garden complex designed to restore the environment after the 1995 earthquake.

These are just a few examples of the amazing urban green spaces around the world, each contributing to the well-being and sustainability of their respective cities.

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