Some of the most beautiful cities that I have been to have seemed full of public parks. Some of these parks have been rural and located in outer parts of the city, while others are more centrally located downtown. I believe that cities that invest in park building can greatly increase the quality of the surrounding area.
Parks are Free: When enjoying a busy day of shopping, many people feel at some point that they need a break from spending money. When trapped in a mall, shoppers are constantly bombarded with advertisements and loud noises. If shoppers in a downtown area can walk into a peaceful park for a rest, they may appreciate feeling this free form of relaxation. Rejuvenated, shoppers may then continue shopping more happily and actually spend more.
Parks Drive Traffic: When choosing an area to spend time, most people will choose an area with some aesthetic appeal over an area otherwise full of similar buildings. Parks can use this appeal to attract pedestrians, artists looking for inspiration and passerbys. An increase in foot traffic can even draw pedestrians by itself; people are drawn to crowds. Increasing foot traffic can bring people into stores, increasing sales revenues and thus tax revenues for the municipality.
Parks Keep People Happy: The needs of many different types of people can be served through parks. When citizens of cities can find ways to pursue their interests such as playing sports on a field in a public park, they are more likely to feel happy. Happy people are less likely to commit crimes or otherwise detract from the utility of a city. When people are happy, everything moves more smoothly.
This is a picture I took in a park from my hometown!