My sense is that parks and similar forms of public space tend to be far less controversial than housing or industry. But an interesting paper by Israeli architecture professor Hillel Schocken suggests that a city can have too much public space.
He begins by asking: why do cities exist? He writes that cities allow people to “widen contact with as many people as possible… The more people one came in contact with the more he increased his chances of finding a suitable mate or potential “business partners” with whom he might exchange goods.” Thus, cities need places where one can come into contract with people that one does not already know.
He adds that “the more public space per person within a study area the lower are the chances that people may enjoy mutual presence in public space. ” In other words, if most of the city is parkland or roads,your chances of actually meeting another person in the park is lower, since most of the parkland will be unoccupied at any given time.
Schocken suggests that his view is supported by data: he studies four cities and the most pedestrian-friendly ones (Nice and a Brazilian favela) have relatively low amounts of public space per person, while Ashdod, Israel (which is more auto-oriented) has more, perhaps because more land is used for roads than in the other towns studied. He also studies Poundbury, a British new urbanist development which he thinks has far too much public space and is thus not as lively as it could be.