May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 41

Exploring the pandemic's influence
on park and recreation design
By John Lavender
T
o say that park design has changed forever since the coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic is an understatement, with the sharp rise in
outdoor recreation increasing demand for urban green spaces. Add
to that a remote-hybrid culture that gives workers the freedom to
work from anywhere virtually - or virtually anywhere - and you have a new
normal that makes public parks, plazas and recreation facilities more important
to people than ever. Reimagining the United States' urban green spaces to
meet the demands of this new paradigm means many things. From a design
perspective, they must promote health, well-being and a sense of community
while being accessible to everyone.
Rediscovering the
Value of Parks
The COVID-19 pandemic placed
a fresh and profound emphasis on
parks and public spaces as havens
of respite for people seeking refuge
from the uncertainties of the outside
world. The dawning of this new
norm, however, led to the closure of
numerous federal and state parks,
which placed considerable pressure
on local parks to stay operational
or even add more public space. The
decision to remain open rested with
each individual community. Once
accessible again, these vital green
spaces transcended their recreational
functions, transforming into essential
sanctuaries where people could
break free from the confines of their
homes and enjoy fresh air without
the constant fear of viral exposure.
As the world adapted to physical
distancing and stay-at-home mandates,
parks emerged as beacons of
hope, offering safe environments for
exercise, relaxation and connection
with nature. Simply put, their value
was rediscovered through the pandemic,
serving as spaces for physical
and mental well-being, and reminding
us of the vital role that accessible
green spaces play in our collective
health and overall quality of life.
The increased use and appreciation
of these natural resources prompted
communities to expect more from
their parks - from improved amenities
and facilities to enhanced maintenance
and programming - reviving
interest in reimagining our parks and
recreation spaces through design.
One example of this transformation
can be seen in City of Chattanooga,
Tennessee's recently finalized citywide
strategic plan. Like many other
cities in the United States, Chattanooga
historically has placed an emphasis
on larger gathering spaces that
attract tourism, like its downtown
Tennessee Riverwalk. However, the
pandemic's lessons have triggered a
shift in priorities, with the city placing
a renewed focus on catering primarily
to Chattanooga's residents by
establishing neighborhood parks that
are in close proximity to their homes.
Planned with equity in mind, these
smaller " pocket parks " are easily accessible
without the need for a car
and often include amenities, such as
playgrounds or splash pads, for residents
to enjoy.
In
Lexington,
Kentucky,
Splash! at Charles Young Park is a
neighborhood-centric park that features
a nature-inspired,
basketball
interactive
water play space for the local community.
Splash! connects the park's
new playground,
court
and community center to Lexington's
multimodal trail, greenway and
park system, known as Town Branch
Commons. From there, the trail connects
to several downtown parks and
other trails that lead out into the
bluegrass countryside. This interconnectivity
represents a pendulum that
has seen communities
surely swinging back toward a less
PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G | MAY 2 0 2 4 | Parks & Recreation
41
slowly but

May 2024 - Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of May 2024 - Parks & Recreation

May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Intro
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover1
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover2
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 1
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 2
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 3
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 4
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 5
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 6
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 7
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 8
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 9
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 10
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 11
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 12
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 13
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 14
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 15
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 16
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 17
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 18
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 19
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 20
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 21
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 22
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 23
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 24
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 25
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 26
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 27
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 28
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 29
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 30
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 31
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 32
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 33
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 34
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 35
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 36
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 37
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 38
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 39
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 40
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 41
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 42
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 43
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 44
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 45
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 46
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 47
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 48
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 49
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 50
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 51
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 52
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 53
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 54
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 55
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - 56
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover3
May 2024 - Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
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