Frederick Law Olmsted designed New York City's Central Park with Calvert Vaux over 150 years ago, and it remains an undisputed haven of tranquility amidst one of the largest, tallest, and most unnatural places on earth. This film examines the creation of America's great city parks in the late 1800s through the enigmatic eyes of Frederick Law Olmsted, visionary urban planner and landscape architect. In his own words, Olmsted and America's Urban Parks weaves together Olmsted's engaging and poignant personal story with those of the lasting masterpieces he left for us today, featuring Academy Award-winning actor Kevin Kline as the voice of Frederick Law Olmsted.
From PBS - Frederick Law Olmsted: Designing America is a documentary about the life, work and legacy of Frederick Law Olmsted. Olmsted (1822-1903) is known as the father of American landscape architecture, the designer of major urban parks; but unknown to many is the fact that he had a number of different careers, trying with frequent success to reform 19th century America in surprising ways. Olmsted was co-designer of Central Park, the first great American urban park; head of the first Yosemite commission; leader of the campaign to protect Niagara Falls; designer of the U.S. Capitol Grounds; site planner for the Great White City of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition; planner of Boston's 'Emerald Necklace' of green space, and of park systems in many other cities. Olmsted succeeded mightily and changed the nation, but he also struggled with failure, loss, and despair for much of his life.