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When Does a Public Space Plan Rely Too Much on Pavement?

The debate leading up to the recent approval of the Arlington County, Virginia Public Spaces Master Plan reveals the competing pressures on park planning in 2019.
May 2, 2019, 6am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Arlington County, Virginia approved a new Public Spaces Master Plan last week.

"The idea of the update is to provide a framework for the county’s plans to preserve natural resources and public activities as part of the broader comprehensive plan," reports Vernon Miles. "However, the meeting launched discussions over whether the county relies too much on paved public spaces, and how sports fields and mountain biking fits in."

Officials involved in the planning process called for better distinctions between green spaces and recreational uses. "For a long time in our site plans, we’ve let concrete be public spaces," County Board Member Katie Cristol is quoted saying in the article. "Plazas have a role, but in recent years [we] have tried to recognize the nature of biophilia."

Another point of contention on the way to approval was the demand for sports fields. "Peter Rousselot, an ARLnow columnist and leader of the Parks4Everyone advocacy group, argued that athletics fields were being over-reserved rather than over-used, an inefficiency leading to an artificial appearance of demand," according to Miles.

The article also includes a list of the critical recommendations included in the Arlington County Public Spaces Master Plan.

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Published on Monday, April 29, 2019 in ARLnow
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