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The term park as a geographic feature today has multiple uses. Originally, it referred to an area maintained as open space where residences, industry and farming were not allowed, often originally so that nobility might have a place to hunt.

Today, the strict usage, based on the original meaning, is an area of open space provided for recreational uses. Parks in this sense are usually owned and provided by the government. Park uses are often divided into two categories: active and passive recreation. Active recreation is that which require intensive development and often involves cooperative or team activity, including playgrounds and ball fields. Passive recreation is that which emphasizes the open-space aspect of a park and which involves a low level of development, including picnic areas and trails.

Some larger areas have been set aside by national governments where the emphasis is on protection from most human development rather than recreation; these are called national parks.

The term park is also used in reference to industrial areas, often termed industrial parks[?]. Some technology research areas are also called research parks. The word park may also be used in community names, such as Oak Park or College Park. And sometimes the active recreational aspect may be carried to the extreme of creating an amusement park, usually privately-owned.

See also Central Park (in Manhattan, New York), Royal Parks of London.

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