Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada
That sounds like a city unlike most out there. And yet I still have a feeling that those more natural spaces you mention are probably quite isolated and not part of an obvious naturalness that continues throughout the whole city and is preserved to balance the overall structuralism that keeps growing. Even though I sense from your words that there is still more naturalness there overall than many.
The direction overal is still to make the city thicken in almost all cases, and to thinify the natural aspects as small as possible, to provide more room for ever larger populations and more technological traffic. But unfortunatly the real, natural world, is not going to get larger for these larger populations and greater traffic!
The Romans made the basic "blueprint" where houses are very compactly together fixed on lines and very closely girt by streets; and every step they tried to take with yet some moderation and failed somewhat in, all the following world would take with even less moderation in mind and further lack moderation in performing again, and thus all the cities went to excess because the plan was based on over-expansion from the very start. If the housing arrangements have to be so pressed together, and so close to the streets, obviously, things are fasshioned with a mind to keep room for much more density and accumulation, and we fill that motion-room with as much density and accumulation of urbanization as the great ambition that must have filled the initial plan. There is nothing wrong with modern business and technology, in and of them as things people wish to live with and enhance their living with but it is wrong in how people put those into so much excessive densnesses and haste and pressure, over all things, and intrude upon the natural world so violently, and then treat lesser evil, like less pollution as "good" Yes less pollution is good in a sense, but pollution in any case is not good for anything, and the more little bits of it there, even though it is "less," the more it adds up again. No one may justify discarding the horse from human society. Horses through throughout history were companions to Human, in his travels, and plans; every one knows that cars are more "powerful" and faster than horses. But no one may deny that cars have put all the world in more danger, than horses did or may. And cars don't have any living instincts, and are not beings, contrary to how some people seem to fancy them.