Now that I’ve had some things to say about individual parks in Parks in the central city and Park positives, some comments about what I think activates parks.

  1. People experiencing homelessness. Yes, I’m serious. There is nothing worse than an empty park, and I’d rather see people using a park than not.
  2. Nearby residential, something more than single family. Parks need people who live close, and parks surrounded by single family and other uses cannot gather enough people to activate them except for special events. Nothing wrong with mixed use, but if no one lives there, there won’t be a good park.
  3. Drinking fountains. In a climate like Sacramento, all public spaces should have drinking fountains.
  4. Something unique that does not exist at nearby parks. Restaurant, senior center, stage, basketball courts, water features, etc.
  5. Playground. Parks need kids, and kids need playgrounds. The size can be scaled to use, but the playground needs something unique that appeals to kids and isn’t just like every other playground. Creative ideas.
  6. Restroom. Any Park of a block or larger in size should have a public restroom. Park users will need restrooms, particularly kids, and they should not need to return home or seek out a local business. Of course this is part of a more general issue that Sacramento has almost no public restrooms anywhere.

I am am sure there are official answers to what parks need, and I will look for those when I have the time, but I want to provide my two cents worth.

What do you think?

Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. A park with good orientation or a focal point also helps. A place where you can sit and look at activity (not an expanse of grass). People like to watch other people. I hope our future riverfront parks do better job of this.

  2. Interesting Strong Towns post on parks: THE PROBLEM WITH FORCING DEVELOPERS TO PROVIDE OPEN SPACE, https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/7/23/the-problem-of-forcing-developers-to-provide-open-space.

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About Dan Allison

Dan Allison is a Safe Routes to School Coordinator in the Sacramento area. Dan dances and backpacks, as much as possible.

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