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Thread: Park/recreation/trail/open space master planning

  1. #1
    Cyburbian FueledByRamen's avatar
    Oct 2003
    A Dog in a Hat

    Park/recreation/trail/open space master planning

    I've been on a long Cyburbia hiatus, but in trying to ignore my job responsibilities this fine humpday afternoon, I thought I'd drop in and say hello.

    Does anyone else here practice in the whole parks/recreation/trails and/or open space master planning arena? My job, which I have held for a year and 4 months, involves about 80% of my time working in these areas. (I work as a planner (the only trained planner amongst some landscape architect "planners" with no formal planning training) in a "Landscape Architecture & Planning" group in a midsize A/E firm.) I've been able to have about 20% of my work be focued on urban design, site planning, and transportation projects, working with various groups in the company.

    While I really understand the importance of Parks Plans, I find them almost mind-numbingly boring and incredibly un-comprehensive. Or maybe, rather than un-comprehensive, they are just painfully detailed (why in the hell should I care how many tetherball poles are neccesary per 1,000 population?!). I have tried working with my PMs in an effort to make our plans more comprehensive and less detailed, but every time we progress some in this direction, we take two steps backward somewhere else, going back to the old ways. The really frustrating part to me is that even though these plans are incredibly detailed and often (almost always) well over 300 pages in length, they are still very cookie-cutter and often have cut-and-paste text from the last plan we did.

    Anyone else have this experience? If so, how have you improved your work?

    Mods: Sorry if this is in the wrong forum, but I couldn't find anything that seemed more appropriate....this isn't intended to be a "career advice" item...more a "planning methods" discussion.

  2. #2
    Jan 2007
    I once worked for a Federal land management agency as a Landscape Architect. A big portion of the job was planning for the recreation program. I worked on multi use trails, trailheads, vistor centers, habitat restoration, etc. We had a really strong land management plan that had a nice recreation componet. It was working really well when I left that job.

    The recreation was all nature based, no basketball courts etc. Coming from that background, I think that a lot of urban parks suffer by not having a strong connection to nature. It is all about sports and active recreation. It is sad that there are so many children growing up and never get to play in the woods.

    If you have some questions on the more nature based elements of park planning and design, I would be happy to help.

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