Designing the Parks Principles

Respect Place:

  • Capture and preserve the spirit of place without stifling change
  • Value a site’s history, purpose and complexity; understand tensions
  • Assess the resource; know what’s flexible and what cannot change
  • Use design sensitivity; recognize how resources are interrelated
  • Conserve relationships and experiences, not just objects
  • Use historic resources to structure contemporary design
  • Integrate multiple values and perspectives
  • Strike a balance between ‘making’ history and ‘preserving’ history
  • Design for a broad experiential range while remaining responsive to a specific park’s purpose and mission

Engage All:

  • Connect people to community and place
  • Make civic engagement a core of design process
  • Define audience; who’s there and who’s not there
  • Incorporate emerging technologies to engage visitors of diverse cultures, ages, and interests
  • Empower youth to be bold leaders through active learning about a place and its meanings
  • Create opportunities for meaningful, transformative experiences for all people
  • Design public spaces to be universally accessible; physically, socially and emotionally
  • Enhance multicultural and multigenerational park experiences
  • Use nature to explore culture
  • Use culture to explore nature

Model Sustainability:

  • Demonstrate excellence through leadership and park management
  • Emphasize people and relationships as core to sustainability
  • Allow for parks to become classrooms of sustainable design
  • Build in climate change scenarios
  • Identify and respect the limits of acceptable design
  • Design and build for multiple users
  • Reuse wherever possible and practical
  • Integrate cultural, natural and operational systems
  • Design for simplicity and ease of maintenance
  • Consider preservation as first step towards sustainability
  • Optimize biodiversity; enhance habitat connectivity

Design Beyond Boundaries:

  • Plan beyond traditional and legal boundaries
  • Design dynamic linkages and networks among parks, communities and nature
  • Create parks with permeable borders
  • Respect larger natural and cultural sustems – design for interconnectivity
  • Broaden a visitor’s understanding of a resource through circulation and visitor orientation
  • Build in flexibility to reach new audiences
  • Enhance the profoundly social dimensions of enjoying parks

Communicate Clearly:

  • Integrate research, planning, design and review process
  • Communicate clearly and honestly
  • Involve and embrace others’ guidance and discussion
  • Build park relationships
  • Engage interdisciplinary design/planning teams
  • Begin projects with solid baseline information
  • Know pros/cons before project starts
  • Be open to new information
  • Comprehensive knowledge of site

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