Most parks are designed by landscape architects, notes Los Angeles County Planner Dr. Clement Lau, with an emphasis on "place." He notes the different definitions of the landscape architecture and planning professions, as expressed by the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) and the American Planning Association (APA). Each definition includes place making but only the latter directly references "the welfare of people and their communities."
While not concluding that planners make better parks than landscape architects, Dr. Lau suggests that landscape architects can up their game by adding attention to equity and comprehensive cross-sector, cross-generational outreach:
"I work with many landscape architects and recognize their tremendous contributions to society. I do, however, believe that park planners must regain a focus on people and more explicitly address inequities and the needs of underserved communities."
In the article, Dr. Lau goes on to provide a more detailed description of how to plan a park with people and social equity in mind.