Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

What Union Square Park could look like after an extensive facelift. Rendering courtesy of Union Square Partnership.

Public parks have grown so important during the pandemic that planners are suggesting bold renovations.

Driving the news: In big cities around the world — like New York, Paris and Barcelona — major improvement plans for public parks are being unveiled one after the next, with inclusion and broader access at their heart.

  • A lengthy, $100 million renovation plan is coming to Union Square Park in Manhattan, a central gathering spot (and home to a cherished greenmarket) that runs from 14th Street through 17th Street on the East Side.
  • The goal is to create 33% more public open space.
  • Paris' Champs-Élysées is getting a big, green makeover.
  • Barcelona plans a 10-year facelift for one of its biggest parks.

"There's clearly a push for cities across the world to have a better pedestrian environment, better transit and more greening," Ed Janoff, deputy director of the Union Square Partnership, which oversees the park, tells Axios.

  • A plan to refurbish the park — reported first by the WSJ — has been in progress for two years, but gained greater urgency when the pandemic hit.

But, but, but: With cities particularly budget-strapped due to the pandemic, many of these projects are privately funded — and many plain-vanilla municipal parks face cutbacks and worse.

  • At the same time, "parks and public land are seeing some of their highest usage in modern times," according to the Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit.

The big picture: Ambitious park renovations used to be all about beautification and environmental uplift, but increasingly there are other pressing goals — like racial justice and the ongoing need for social distancing.

  • About 100 million Americans don’t have a park within a 10-minute walk from home, per the Trust for Public Land.
  • "Just as there is unequal access to nutritious food, to health care, and even to diagnostic tests, so too is there unequal access to parks and green spaces," said Nette Compton, director of strategy at TPL, which issued a report on parks and the pandemic.
  • From Charlotte, N.C., to San Francisco, "local parks are so packed that some governments have had to close parking areas to discourage overcrowding, favoring those who can walk to those parks," Compton wrote.

The bottom line: Expect more grand visions for urban parks in the months ahead.

  • "Even with a successful vaccine rollout in 2021, the ability to safely recreate outdoors will remain a critical complement to public health measures," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in his state-of-the-state address last month.
  • He called for $440 million of investment in New York State's public parks over four years.

Go deeper: The best (and worst) cities for public parks

Go deeper

Mike Allen, author of AM
16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden adviser Cedric Richmond sees first-term progress on reparations

Illustration: "Axios on HBO"

White House senior adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" that it's "doable" for President Biden to make first-term progress on breaking down barriers for people of color, while Congress studies reparations for slavery.

Why it matters: Biden said on the campaign trail that he supports creation of a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations — direct payments for African-Americans.

Cyber CEO: Next war will hit regular Americans online

Any future real-world conflict between the United States and an adversary like China or Russia will have direct impacts on regular Americans because of the risk of cyber attack, Kevin Mandia, CEO of cybersecurity company FireEye, tells "Axios on HBO."

What they're saying: "The next conflict where the gloves come off in cyber, the American citizen will be dragged into it, whether they want to be or not. Period."

Cedric Richmond: We won't wait on GOP for "insufficient" stimulus

Top Biden adviser Cedric Richmond told "Axios on HBO" the White House believes it has bipartisan support for a stimulus bill outside the Beltway.

  • "If our choice is to wait and go bipartisan with an insufficient package, we are not going to do that."

The big picture: The bill will likely undergo an overhaul in the Senate after House Democrats narrowly passed a stimulus bill this weekend, reports Axios' Kadia Goba.