Parks and Recreation Newsletter, Fall 2008
Designing the parks conference
by Jim Speck, ASLA

The National Park Service (NPS) and its partners, University of Virginia, the Cultural Landscape Foundation, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, and the George Wright Society, are co-sponsoring a national conference to look at innovations in the design of buildings and landscapes in state, regional and national parks. The conference will take place December 9-11, 2008 in the San Francisco, California area. Go to Designing the Parks for details and how to register.

The conference will be in two parts and will address the design of buildings and landscapes in regional, state, and national parks. Particular emphasis will be placed on articulating achievable green design and energy efficiencies in landscape and building designs.

The workshops at the conference will examine the issues driving contemporary and future park design (described as “Part 2” of the conference). In addition to sustainability and green design, other issues will include changing demographics and user patterns, providing access under the Americans with Disabilities Act, new communication technologies, and concerns for re-connecting present and future generations to the natural environment.  Part 1 of the conference will address the history of park planning and design.

The goal of the conference will be to formulate design principles that will guide NPS and other park managers as they embrace these challenges in the future. After the session, the principles will be applied to a design charrette to test and validate their conceptual application to future park design.

Landscape Architects are encouraged to apply for this workshop. If you cannot participate in person, there are various references, and on-line forums in which  PPN members can participate.

Jim Speck, ASLA, is Director of Planning and Construction at Metroparks of the Toledo (Ohio) Area, and can be reached at:

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Alison Jumper, ASLA, Chair
(479) 444-3469