21st Century Parks that Harness the Programmatic Power of the Community

Currently community-driven place-making in our parks remains under realized. Park access and policy should take into account the individuals and groups that want to plant themselves on public space and provide ongoing community programs such as salt marsh restoration, citizen science, boating, and urban farms. As a result Partnership for Parks literature, which describes how people can partner with Parks, does not include this type of park use. Social entrepreneurs, who bring this vital programmatic component to our parks and often push forward visions set forth by EPA, NYSDEC, NYCDEP, PlaNYC, etc., should be formally supported. Park support could include a calendar of public meetings aimed at welcoming ideas and partners for community activation of underutilized public spaces; available interim flexible infrastructure to house community activities such as repurposed shipping containers; designated stewardship zones for community members to host programs, share resources, and expand park use.

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