A city I am working with approved and platted many new subdivisions with no common open spaces, not even a playground or pocket park. They've since regretted this decision. Most of these subdivisions are maybe half built out, due to the slumping economy.

Does anyone know of models of retrofitting a subdivision like this to include an open space? It seems it would be easy enough perhaps to buy 4 adjacent empty lots and construct a "pocket park" with a playground and picnic area, etc. Better yet, ask the developer to dedicate the lots (which they can't sell now anyway), in exchange for the city constructing the pocket park within x years and maintaining it as a city park (no HOA organization) - this would only add to the appeal of the subdivision. I know this isn't ideal, lets the developer off the hook, and many parks departments hate to maintain what they see as an HOA responsibility, but that ship has already sailed (strong resistance to HOA's in this part of the wild west), but I think the concern is to have neighborhoods that have a sense of community. Since these would be city parks, they wouldn't need one in every subdivision, just a couple strategically placed within walking distance of most new lots.

Examples of successful programs might help the city accept the idea.