2018 National Planning Conference

Access to Experiences, Not Acres

Sunday, April 14, 2019 from 8:30 a.m. - 9:45 a.m. PDT

CM | 1.25

Activity Type: Educational Sessions

Activity ID: NPC198001

Location: 2011

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  • Prioritize public spaces resource allocation.
  • Learn how to access public spaces experiences.
  • Enhance the health benefits of parks and public spaces.


Learn how Montgomery County and Parks Rx America are pairing resources and community relationships to access parks and public spaces and decrease the burden of chronic disease, increase health and happiness, and foster environmental stewardship.

What can I do and where can I go? Some people want playgrounds, other people value open space for concerts or being in nature on a long hike. All park experiences are not created equal for everyone. Montgomery County goes beyond the standard metrics of parkland acres per person. The innovative Energized Public Spaces Functional Master Plan relies on data-driven analysis of walking access to different types of park experiences to prioritize public space needs more equitably countywide. This methodology analyzes the data from the users’ perspective. The intent is to provide a balance of public spaces supply for: social gathering (events, festivals), active recreation (trails, multi-use courts, spaces to play) and contemplative relaxation (gardens, urban forests) in the urban areas of the county.

If we build, will they come? Not necessarily. Park Rx America motivates patients to walk and exercise outdoors nearby their places of work or residence – creating a demand for different types of outdoor experiences.

This course is approved to offer 1.25 LU|HSW (AIA)
This course is approved to offer 1.25 PDH|HSW (ASLA).

Session Speakers

John Henderson
Park Rx America
Washington, DC

Christopher McGovern
M-NCPPC, Montgomery County (MD) Parks and Planning Departments
Silver Spring, MD

Cristina K. Sassaki, AICP
M-NCPPC, Montgomery County (MD) Parks Department
Chevy Chase, MD