What Makes a High Quality Park?

A new report can help park developers and managers assess quality, park by park and systemwide, to make investments and address disparities in access to high quality parks.

July 8, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By clementkhlau @clemusc


Chicago, Illinois

My_Ticklefeet / Shutterstock

What makes a park "high quality"? The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently released a report to answer this question. Based on interviews with parks professionals and other experts from around the country, the report presents a framework for park quality that can help all park developers and managers assess quality, park by park and systemwide, to make investments and address longstanding disparities in access to high quality parks. 

To help define park quality, ULI hosted a two-day workshop in Nashville in April 2019 to get input from nearly 30 leaders in parks and recreation. Attendees identified cities that had successful programs or processes in place to evaluate the quality of their parks or park systems, and interviews were conducted with parks and recreation department staff in a number of these cities, along with other experts. 

Findings from the interviews were analyzed to create a framework of five key characteristics of quality. Specifically, high quality parks:

  1. Are in excellent physical condition.
  2. Are accessible to all potential users.
  3. Provide positive experiences for park users.
  4. Are relevant to the communities they serve.
  5. Are flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances.

For more information, please read the report.

Thursday, June 17, 2021 in Urban Land Institute

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