The Landscape Guide

Sports parks

In Ancient Greece, sporting competitions were held near sacred groves (eg at Olympia).

When the Roman Emperors declared themselves gods and began making what were effectively sacred groves in their palace gardens, they included sporting facilities.

The above history was remembered during the twentieth century when the Olympic Games were re-started and, more ominously, when governments began to see physical fitness as a desirable quality in army recruits. The latter consideration led to the wholesale provision of sports facilities in public parks. They may well contribute to public health objectives but they do little for garden or landscape design objectives.

The best example of a well-designed sport park, fully deserving the historical associations of its name, is the Munich Olympiapark.