Posted on February 27, 2015 by Kathy Blaha
Susan Rademacher, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s Curator, has written a new book on Pittsburgh’s Mellon Square, its history and its recent rehabilitation by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy which, at first glance, is a paean to great landscape design. It is a jewel of an example of how a small public space when designed right can have a huge impact on a downtown or in this case, an entire city and over time.
Mellon Square: Discovering a Modern Masterpiece, the second in a series by the Cultural Landscape Foundation (Princeton Architectural Press, $24.95), traces the Square from its original design and construction in 1955 through its evolution as a public space that manages to stay relevant and foundational for over 50 years in a city that suffered its share of economic ups and downs. Continue reading
Filed under: economics, funding, partnerships, planning, renewal | Tagged: Kathy Blaha, Mellon Square, pittsburgh, Susan Rademacher | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 29, 2015 by Angelina Horn
Each month, City Parks Alliance names one “Frontline Park” as a standout example of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship from across the country. The program identifies city parks that find innovative ways to meet the unique challenges faced as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures and urban neighborhood decay. In recognition of its innovative practices in partnerships and sustainable funding, Brooklyn Bridge Park has been named a Frontline Park.
Brooklyn Bridge Park is the product of more than 20 years of extensive community planning and advocacy. For years after shipping activity ceased at the piers, the land sat empty and was isolated from surrounding neighborhoods. Developing the site into a park was not straightforward or simple, given the waterfront location and proximity to a major highway. Planning and design was further complicated by the need to consider the integrity of the shoreline, and to ensure that the park could withstand major floods, storm surges, and any rise in sea level, which would drive up future maintenance costs. With a limited amount of public money available, other revenue streams would be necessary to ensure the park’s future viability. Continue reading
Filed under: economics, funding, maintenance/management, planning, programming, transportation | Tagged: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Frontline Parks, public-private partnerships | Leave a comment »
Posted on January 12, 2015 by Kathy Blaha
Last month the City Parks Alliance (CPA) held a pilot workshop in a concerted effort to develop a teaching strategy for helping park professionals learn and understand partnerships and collaboration. More than twenty participants attended the day-long event held at Augustus Hawkins Natural Park in Los Angeles, supported by the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation and hosted by the Los Angeles Parks Foundation.
(L to R): Jackie Carrera, Gordon Robertson, and Dale Larsen
I had the privilege of facilitating the discussion and was supported by City Parks Alliance staffers, Executive Director Catherine Nagel and Outreach & Program Manager Angie Horn, as well as a team of three experienced urban park professionals: Jackie Carrera, a recent transplant to Los Angeles after 21 years as CEO for Parks and People in Baltimore; Gordon Robertson, Director of Planning and Design for Denver Parks and Recreation; and Dale Larsen, Professor of Practice & Honors Faculty at Arizona State University and former Director of Parks & Recreation in Phoenix. Collectively they represented more than 100 years of experience in city park partnerships!
We structured an agenda based on surveying park partners in California to find out what they wanted to learn. Response to the survey centered on four ideas for shaping an agenda:
- Understanding the need for partnership; why and how partners should work together
- Getting started by scoping out responsibilities and structuring agreements
- Working together day to day, communicating, team-building, and establishing trust
- Building a culture of collaboration and shared vision for the long run
And so for the day-long session we shaped our workshop around these four areas. The small size of the group meant that we could use our time for discussion, storytelling, and sharing successes and failures. The experts in the room shared lessons and reflected on their experiences with public and private partners. Continue reading
Filed under: funding, maintenance/management, partnerships, programming | Tagged: California, governance, Greater & Greener, Kathy Blaha, los angeles, P3s, public-private partnerships, urban parks conference | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 23, 2014 by Angelina Horn
Each month, City Parks Alliance names one “Frontline Park” as a standout example of urban park excellence, innovation and stewardship from across the country. The program identifies city parks that find innovative ways to meet the unique challenges faced as a result of shrinking municipal budgets, land use pressures and urban neighborhood decay. In recognition of its innovative practices in partnerships and volunteer engagement, Priest Point Park has been named a Frontline Park.
Priest Point is a park built by volunteers. When the park was constructed, the city did not have the staff necessary to complete construction, and relied heavily on community members who donated their time and labor. Volunteers cleared the landscape, restored historic structures, installed landscaping features, and cleared trails throughout the park. At 314 acres and more than a century old, Priest Point is both the city’s largest and oldest park, and still relies heavily on volunteer engagement for general maintenance. This history of volunteerism in Olympia provided the basis for a culture of stewardship that has since grown to encompass all of the urban parks and forests in the city. Continue reading
Filed under: partnerships, programming | Tagged: Frontline Parks, Olympia, Priest Point Park, Washington | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 16, 2014 by Angelina Horn
San Francisco’s park system plays a particularly outsized role in the City’s economy and is worth almost $1 billion a year, according to a recent report.
The report, by The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence in partnership with the San Francisco Parks Alliance, said the value of San Francisco’s parks is $959 million a year.
The report incorporates data from San Francisco’s entire park and recreation system: everything from destination icons like Crissy Field and Coit Tower, to trails, natural areas, neighborhoods and community parks, and even hardscape downtown squares. Seven major factors are analyzed and enumerated in the report: property value attributable to parks, revenues from park-related tourism, the value citizens derive from direct use of free or very low cost park resources (called “direct use”), health benefits resulting from active recreation in parks, community cohesion from gathering together in parks, clean water and clean air. Continue reading
Filed under: uncategorized | Leave a comment »