“That’s a walk in the park!” Most of us are familiar with this expression which is used to describe something that is very easy to do. Ironically, a walk to a park may actually not be a walk in the park for a variety of reasons. For example, there may not be a park within walking distance (typically defined as a half-mile) from one’s home. There may also be physical and social barriers that often make walking to parks challenging and undesirable, such as a lack of infrastructure like sidewalks and crosswalks, traffic safety concerns like speeding vehicles, and crime issue like the presence of gangs. [Read more…] about A Walk to the Park
Parks & Recreation Facilities
Have you heard of “nature-deficit disorder“? Coined by author and journalist Richard Louv, the term refers to possible negative consequences to individual health and the social fabric as children stay more time indoors and away from physical contact with the natural world. [Read more…] about Nature for Neighborhoods
Let me begin with a confession. I almost decided not to continue my annual update of Presents for Plannerds which I started in 2013. As my family knows, I have never been much of a shopper, but I thought it would be fun to compile a list of gift ideas for my fellow planners and those who may want to give us presents for Christmas. So I updated the list in 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017. But as December approached this year, [Read more…] about Presents for Plannerds: 2018 Edition
Where are new parks most needed? What types of park amenities does a community need more of? Which sports are most popular in a city or neighborhood? How many residents are within a half-mile of a park? If a new park is built at a certain location, how many more youths would be served? These are the types of questions that decision-makers are increasingly asking so that they can make informed-decisions to better allocate limited resources for parks and recreation. [Read more…] about Data-Driven Park Planning
Have you been to the Gateway Arch in St. Louis? Do you know that the iconic stainless steel structure is the world’s tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, and the tallest publicly accessible building in the State of Missouri? I recently visited the Arch which is the centerpiece of the Gateway Arch National Park, previously known as the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, and came away impressed by both the monument and its newly renovated surroundings. [Read more…] about Gateway Arch National Park: A Visual Tour
I have been learning a lot lately. No, I have not returned to school or taken a few courses through Planetizen. Instead, I have simply been playing with my five-year old daughter and gaining a few insights along the way. Some of her favorite toys these days are Blockitecture sets which consist of colorful wooden blocks of buildings, parks, green spaces, rivers, and lakes. Together, we have built neighborhoods and had humorous conversations about what makes a city “fun” or “awesome,” two of her most often-used adjectives. Of course, this has brought me, a plannerd and father, much joy and satisfaction, knowing that my daughter is beginning to understand what I do as a planner and that she may even aspire to be one in the future (well, I am not sure about this yet). All kidding aside, I have seriously learned a few things through our play sessions that I would like to share below. [Read more…] about Urban Planning Insights: Learning and Reflecting through Play
Soccer? Football? Fútbol? While there may not be universal consensus on what to call the sport, I think most can agree that it has become a very popular sport in America. I previously wrote an article called Soccer and Park Planning from my perspective both as a soccer fan and a planner. It seems appropriate now to do a sequel given the continued “soccerization” of land use across cities in the U.S. Essentially, I am referring to the dedication of an increasing amount of land/space for soccer, and the development of additional facilities for both players and fans, including soccer fields and futsal courts at parks as well as soccer-specific stadiums for professional teams. [Read more…] about Soccerization of Land Use
Over the years, I have written numerous articles about the importance of planning for new parks in underserved communities and highlighted various projects that I have been fortunate to be involved in. In particular, two projects that I have discussed at length are the Los Angeles County Master Plan for Sustainable Parks and Recreation: Phase I (also known as the Community Parks and Recreation Plans) and the Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment (see Park Planning for Underserved Communities and Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment: The L.A. County Story). As a park planner, I am generally more focused on the creation and siting of parks to meet community needs, and the equitable distribution of such facilities. However, I am also fully aware that recreational programming matters just as much as planning, and perhaps even more so based on the input of many residents and park staff with whom I have interacted. Thus, I would like to address programming in this article, with a special focus on the Parks After Dark (PAD) program. [Read more…] about Surprising benefits from nighttime park programming in LA
We all need parks. Specifically, the availability of parks, trails, and other recreational facilities is an important factor in creating healthy communities and providing a high quality of life for residents. These amenities offer opportunities to encourage active living, to exercise, to access open space, and to connect with others and the natural environment.
Is one of your new year’s resolutions to exercise more or be more physically active? If yes, where have you been doing your exercise routines? Nowadays, many people immediately think of private gyms like LA Fitness or 24 Hour Fitness as the most effective and/or popular places to get fit. But as we all know, gym membership is not cheap and not everyone can afford it. As I explained in my article Where Do You Exercise, there are other options, such as Fitness Zones at public parks, multi-use trails, the city itself, and the YMCA, which are free or more affordable. [Read more…] about Recreation at Shopping Malls?