City Parks and Open Air Spaces - Urban Design Considerations
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Learn how to apply Kevin Lynch's urban design considerations to city park design.Most programs for development of parks contain quantitative criteria and goals, such as how many acres and what equipment to provide. A typical park planning process will evaluate alternative sites, land and construction costs, demographics, operating costs, staffing, etc. These are all meaningful factors which are necessary and are often taught in colleges and universities. This topic is intended to go beyond those considerations, by applying Perceptual and Experiential Urban Design considerations derived from the well-respected author Kevin Lynch. Design for the citizen's experience is often an overlooked consideration. Lynch provided a set of tools by which designers can consider the way people perceive the urban environment, and use those tools to create built places where people can move easily and safely through familiar and new places. One where people can navigate to and from their places of residence to and through the parks and open places. Visible landmarks can be designed to be used in connecting pedestrians with their intended destinations, and at the same time creating a network of objects for easy reference in navigating familiar and foreign places alike. With well-designed pathways, pedestrians can choose from several ways to reach places of interest. The edges of those paths can offer shade, shelter and entertainment. Where paths meet, nodal points can provide places for rest and reflection- places to meet others or to be alone. Connecting people to their waterways, civic places, libraries, museums can be used to reinforce sense of community and unique neighborhoods with their roots.
By applying many of Lynch's sensory considerations with interesting visual creations, even the smallest pocket parks can offer stimulation and delight to people of all ages and from all backgrounds. In addition, it offers a means by which the largest parks and urban spaces can be ordered into a navigable combination of different but related parts.
William L. Walker, AIA, Core Consulting Group
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