In this age of rapid urbanization and growing populations cities in the developing world are expanding at an unprecedented rate. In many of these cities, green space has often been overwhelmed by growth, migration from the countryside and a lack of planning. Encroachment, both legal and illegal, has gradually swallowed up forests and grassland, diminishing green space. Overwhelmed by financial demands, municipalities have neglected the problem, assuming that green space was unproductive and therefore of little value -- or worse, a financial liability.
It is in this context that the Historic Cities Programme (HCP) understood that rather than being financial liabilities, green spaces themselves could be catalysts for positive economic, social and cultural change. With 10 park and garden projects HCP has demonstrated that parks not only contribute to the quality of life in cities, but that they can be self-sustaining and can also be economic generators that drive – directly and indirectly – a broad advance of positive change in terms of social development, local employment, entrepreneurial activity and cultural development.