From a comment on the City Managers blog.
We are building a city and cities require density, shopping, exitement and people space. Cities do not work because there are parks and open space and green lawns with trees. These are not the things that make up a city. Luckly for those that seem to be jerking from the thought of our city becoming a real city, our city is small and surrounded by great neighborhoods that can keep us green.
Are we to believe that Chicago is one of the greatest large cities to live in because it has only buildings, concrete and asphalt?
Cities work because of diversity - great cities have a wide range of spaces - space devoted to commercial activity (this includes much more than "shopping"), space for residential, space for community gatherings, space for parks and unique natural settings like waterfronts.
The spaces themselves need to be diverse. Restaurants, bars, drugstores, department stores, even tattoo shops and the Goodwill store provide diversity and fill the needs of a diverse community. Plazas, large parks, small green spaces, trees and flowers add interest and vitality. Trees, shrubs, grasses and flowers all remove the pollution left from the high concentration of people and their automobiles that fill city centers.
Sarasota is now building Payne Park. This great green space will contain large expanses of grass, water and trees. This park will be within walking distance of downtown (although it may be a bit of a hike from lower Main).
New York City has Central Park and Chicago has Millennium Park, both at the city center. These large public green spaces help define these great cities.