What is a Parks & Recreation System Master Plan?

Great question; one of the best answers that I've come across is below:

"A parks and open-space plan outlines a systematic approach to providing parks and recreation services to a community. Parks and open-space resources within a community include environmental, recreational, scenic, cultural, historic, and urban design elements.

Jan Gehl (1987), the Danish urbanist and architect, states,

'The proper hierarchy of planning is life, space and buildings, not buildings, space, life.' 

Therefore communities need to plan for open spaces that provide a multitude of public functions before development occurs.  These functions are numerous and may include:
  • Protection of natural resources and biodiversity;
  • Creation of places for recreation;
  • Support for economic development opportunities;
  • Development of neighborhood gathering spaces;
  • Promotion of public health benefits;
  • Creation of civic and cultural infrastructure; and 
  • Shaping patterns of development through open spaces."
Source: American Planning Association. (2006). Parks and open-space plans. In planning and urban design standards (p. 38). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons. 

Play fort at Rock Ridge Park
I find the above text to be a pretty elegant synopsis of what parks planning is all about.

As the Town develops our Parks & Recreation System Master Plan, look forward to articles here providing insights into the planning process as well as articles highlighting some of the conceptual underpinnings of why we're engaged in this process.  So stay tuned. . . .


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