This paper is based on 12 month research project (BW114/AWF) carried out by the Institute of Tourism and Recreation AWF Warsaw in partnership with local authority in Warsaw (2006-2007) in the course of which 18 historic parks and gardens in Warsaw were surveyed. In addition two local case studies (•eromski Park and Citadel Park, •oliborz District) were undertaken on specific themes, such as: sense of place, commercial activities, safety, pressures for change, popularity, proposed strategy of renewal (with park users interviewed). The paper shows the contemporary spatial changes in the city, particularly where these are relevant to parks and open space provision. It summarises the research programme undertaken, historic parks and gardens surveyed and their users observed (interviewed). Warsaw historic parks and gardens are now a matter of public concern. Public parks are one of the most defining types of green public space in Polish towns and cities. Their use and contribution they make to urban quality of life is undeniable. This covers a wide range of factors (enhancing natural and historical environment, enriching biodiversity) together with accomplishment of recreation needs, sustainable tourism development and education role. Moreover in the rapidly changing urban scene historic parks and gardens are seen these days often as a source of local identity, territory landmarks and as symbols of continuity and stability. The paper argues that the many inconsistent functions implemented into historic landscape is one of the reasons of deterioration of urban public green areas. The current emphasis on cost-cutting and so-called “efficiency” in historic park management led to a general procommercial attitude. The example of •azienki Royal Gardens (Warsaw) proofs that this policy and numerous commercial functions in the historical landscape may be a thread to park’s sustainability (park is furnitured with restaurants, pubs, various tourist services).