Adequate recreation space, although often overlooked, is of great importance to a community, and provision for it rightly belongs in a good plan. A lawn around the home is the best place for very small children to play, but public playgrounds and athletic fields are needed for organized games for larger children and adults. The increasing dangers imposed by rapidly moving traffic further emphasize the hazard of streets as play space, and the need for enough well-located playgrounds to care for every child. The distance that children of various ages will customarily travel to playgrounds should, of course, be recognized, especially in apartment-house neighborhoods, where even the smallest children must be provided for. The need of more public open spaces of all kinds is one of the consequences of apartment-house living and must be borne in mind as apartment-house areas develop.
A great country park, desirable as it is, is now generally recognized as a supplement to, not a substitute for, smaller parks convenient to the people who need ready access to trees, grass, and open space. Thus all the breathing-spaces for fresh air and sunshine provided by recreation space are an integral part of a city plan. Adoption of a park and playground program frequently results in the donation of land for park purposes by public-spirited citizens, or by landowners who discern the advantage thus obtainable for their adjoining subdivisions.
Public recreation facilities are as important to the village as to the large city. Many a farm community has no public parks or playgrounds; hence the children must be trespassers to play, and adult athletic contests are hampered by inadequate, makeshift facilities. Good playgrounds and athletic fields lead to better physical development and a spirit of team play, while every form of wholesome recreation for adults helps to check unwise movement of population to large cities.