A Park Everywhere
Friday, November 4, 2016
10:15 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. CDT
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Parks are a fundamental part of our cities. But our thinking about parks has become stagnant. When we say parks, we often think of playgrounds and swimming pools, sports fields and trails and leftover spaces that we call “open space.”Instead, we should redefine what a park is. Yes, parks can be places where organized sports or passive contemplation occur, but more than that, we should think of them as the places that bring us together, that bring us joy, that make our cities fun places to be. Taking a cue from original plans for cities by Olmstead, Kessler, Rouse and others, we need to think comprehensively about our parks and integrate opportunities for interaction, contemplation and active and healthy lifestyles into every part of our cities. We need to think of all of the civic and shared spaces in our cities today, whether public or private, as “parks”. From a broad tree-line promenade to a quiet spot with a bench to an outdoor café or a large public square, all are “parks.” So indeed, parks can be everywhere!This session will illustrate new ways to think about our parks. Rather than just classifying them into traditional categories, it will present newer ways to integrate parks into all areas of a city and how to strengthen and link our parks. It will present three key “models” or types of park systems that can be adapted to any community or region. It will help point out how to identify spaces that can address the need for active transportation, that foster healthy lifestyles, that help reduce flooding, and that help create iconic “destinations” in our cities. The session will present ways in which to make all kinds of park spaces truly accessible to every resident of our cities, and how to instill a true love of parks into our leaders and city champions. And through example case studies, it will show how creating a strong park system as a component of our cities can make your city an outstanding location in the new economy of the 21st Century.
Michael McAnelly, email@example.com