Planning Excellence

Our Parks, Our Future Long Range Plan

Austin, Texas

A Parks and Recreation Plan That Goes The Distance

Every 10 years, Austin's Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) develops a long range plan to guide the growth of the city's park system, providing a blueprint to guide land acquisition, capital improvements, park design, and development of programs and amenities. As the city's population continues to increase, it is essential that Austin grows to both protect the region's sensitive natural features and to provide opportunities for the community to connect with the natural environment. With Our Parks, Our Future Long Range Plan, PARD partnered with WRT to dive deeper into community engagement and analysis than ever before. The result is a living document that dovetails with Austin's other strategic initiatives, going beyond the boundaries of a standard parks and recreation plan to define a collaborative vision for the future of the city.

At the forefront of the planning process was a commitment to sustainability, environmental stewardship, and social equity. The robust, community-driven process demonstrated innovative engagement techniques with a laser-focus on underrepresented communities of color, residents with limited English proficiency, and people with disabilities. After extensive community listening and assessment of the current state of each park, PARD and the WRT consultant team developed a plan that accommodates the needs of residents by expanding food access, providing multi-lingual signage to educate park visitors, addressing displacement concerns, and protecting the park's natural resources.