Community engagement is the process of working collaboratively with individuals and groups to achieve specific goals. For parks and open spaces, community engagement allows mayors and public officials to directly involve their constituencies in the ongoing design, planning, and management of these resources. This process results in informed and engaged residents that feel better connected to their communities. While sometimes contentious, but more often productive and rewarding, community engagement is an essential ingredient of making successful urban open space.
Parks support community engagement by providing residents with a venue for participation in and attachment to their communities. They also provide a sense of place and offer essential life-enhancing qualities that aid community and individual well-being. By understanding the community benefits of parks, decision makers can develop constituencies that can sustain their urban park systems over time.