• Who We Are

    City Parks Blog is a joint effort of the Center for City Park Excellence at the Trust for Public Land and the City Parks Alliance to chronicle the news and issues of the urban park movement. Read more about us.
  • Urban Park Issues

  • Enter your email address to receive notifications of new City Parks Blog posts by email.

  • Archives

  • Urban Green Cover Ad

Seattle’s Downtown Park Rangers

An article in the Seattle Times describes the city’s attempt to enliven its downtown parks by introducing seven park rangers, “functioning as part security guards, part social workers,” in ten parks in and near downtown.

Rangers patrol in pairs between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m……They begin their shifts by rousing homeless people. The rangers ask if they need help and remind them that they’re not allowed to camp there, but they don’t chase them out of the parks….

Daily reports filed by the rangers are packed with “positive contact” incidents, such as offering advice about finding shelter, giving directions to tourists or making conversation with regular park visitors. On July 4, a group of young people at Freeway Park taught Hecht an urban jungle-gym stunt, which he “was able to successfully complete to a cheering crowd of youth,” he wrote.

The jury is still out on if the $462,000 effort has been successful. (We’ll be looking for more news here.) In judging its effect, however, one useful tool would be a usership survey to determine if more people are using the parks – looking both at the numbers and the comments from intercept interviews in the parks. Whatever the case, the city is taking an active role to create vibrant public spaces in its core — a challenge that many others face.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s