Parkology

How do I make my park more welcoming?

Having a park nearby isn’t always enough to ensure that the neighborhood benefits from it. Sometimes, reactivating existing places can be a great way of improving its use. The key to a successful park is to ensure that it is both well used and well loved.


Good design, lots of activity, and easy access make for a safer, more welcoming park.

A park can be designed for greater use by considering three options: attractive, welcoming, and options for shade or sun, depending on the climate. In our southern climates, shade is increasingly important and this is an opportunity to plant trees. In northern climates, having sunny spots available in the winter is just as important, as sun extends the season and usage of a park.
 
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Photo by Adam Alexander

Lighting is a key element in design – to both extend the usage of parks in the evening hours as well as during the colder months. There are many, many options in lighting now that offer good coverage and visibility without being overly bright or impacting surrounding houses and business. A good example of lighting challenges is always ballfield or tennis court lighting in parks with adjoining residential communities.

Activating outdoor space is essential to creating a welcoming environment that can connect community members. Green spaces that hold events impact the children, families, and communities around them. For example, parks that hold events see more use and even have been linked to reduction in crime.
 
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Photo by Adam Alexander

In terms of access, it’s important to be able to get to a park easily. Sidewalks, cross-walks, traffic signals allowing people to cross busy streets, bike lanes and paths, plus bike racks are all key elements in making sure people can get there easily and quickly. This is the heart of the 10-Minute Walk to a park campaign.

To start a deeper conversation on programming, click “How to take action” on the right.