Park and Recreation Month is Almost Here

image: NRPA’s Park and Rec Month Toolkit

July is Park and Recreation Month, and this year’s theme is: OUT is IN. Agencies can register as official participants to have their Park and Recreation Month events added to the main listing, which includes activities across the United States ranging from outdoor dance and exercise classes to kickball, white water rafting, volleyball tournaments, garden tours, and family hikes.

Park and Recreation Month this year also comes with a social media challenge: participants are asked to share their photos on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #JulyOUTisIN. Prizes will be awarded to the best photos of an indoor activity being done outside.

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Animating the Campus Landscape

Pop Rocks on Koerner Plaza, the University of British Columbia image: Dean Gregory
Pop Rocks on Koerner Plaza, the University of British Columbia
image: Dean Gregory

Earlier this year, the office where I have worked for 5 years—Campus and Community Planning—was restructured to include a new division called Campus Programs and Animation. This group of people is responsible for supporting the University of British Columbia’s strategic priority of making our Vancouver campus more vibrant. My first reaction was “Hmmm—I thought we (the landscape architects) were doing that!”

We absolutely are doing that—creating the spaces and landscapes that are essential to a vibrant campus. But we don’t do it alone. Making the campus more vibrant involves leveraging public space, campus landscape and infrastructure investments with cultural and social assets to develop strong community programs and create extraordinary campus experiences. Real success requires a concerted effort by many individuals. With the goal of creating unforgettable and extraordinary campus experiences, landscape architects do create the platform and unique opportunities for meaningful intellectual, social, and cultural experiences and interactions. The design and programming contributions of other professionals, staff and the users themselves help us fulfill this goal.

Following are a few images—and a really fun video clip—showing the fruits of those efforts here at the University of British Columbia.

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Marijuana in the Mountains

Street signage advertising marijuana products, for both medical and recreational use, have taken their place next to signs for more traditional retail establishments in Aspen.   image: Patrick Rawley, Stan Clauson Associates, Inc.
Street signage advertising marijuana products, for both medical and recreational use, in Aspen
image: Patrick Rawley, Stan Clauson Associates, Inc.

Pitkin County & Colorado’s Early Experience with Legalized Weed

With the recent legalization of marijuana in the State of Colorado for recreational use, the nascent medical marijuana industry that had provided marijuana to those with doctors’ prescriptions expanded to recreational marijuana shops and grow operations. As with the rest of the state, the Aspen area has seen retail shops opening and grow operations proposed. Some of these land use proposals have been approved, and some not. This is an area of land use that has provoked considerable controversy, as this “green” boom does not come without its issues. Questions of safety, impacts on health, issues with driving while under the influence, and social acceptance of a substance that has so long stood in the shadows of society have entered the daily discussion. And now, land use has come into play.

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Getting Started in International Work

Jalan Petaling (Petaling Street), a traditional location for vendors’ stalls in Kuala Lumpur – now modernized image: Erik Mustonen
Jalan Petaling (Petaling Street), a traditional location for vendors’ stalls in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – now modernized
image: Erik Mustonen

People interested in working internationally often ask how they can get started. The answer is a combination of preparation, risk, and luck. Part 1 of this three-part post covers six tips for getting started, and Parts 2 and 3 will include advice on logistical considerations for when you actually go overseas for work.

…chance favors only the prepared minds.
–Louis Pasteur

Many Americans are woefully unaware of the rest of the world. Before stepping off a cliff like The Fool in a Tarot deck, it is very helpful to become prepared in terms of languages, geography, politics, health, and finance.

1. Learn a foreign language (or languages) 

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Children’s Park at Klyde Warren Park

Entry into Children’s Park image: Lisa Horne
Entry into Children’s Park
image: Lisa Horne

On a beautiful October day, Klyde Warren Park opened to the public in 2012 after years of planning and hard work. The 5.2-acre park spans Woodall Rodgers Freeway between St. Paul Street and Pearl Street in Dallas, Texas. It effectively created new real estate over the sunken highway and reunited downtown Dallas and the burgeoning Uptown with its trendy restaurants, offices, and multifamily development.

Within the highly programmed park, the corner at St. Paul Street and the westbound access road is dedicated to the Children’s Park. Between the Botanical Garden and Reading Room and across from the Great Lawn, this space of less than half an acre is fenced. Closely aligned steel poles, which are similar to the Nasher Sculpture Center bollards less than a block away, allow visual access, but block movement. The entry is an elaborate white portal that can be locked at night. Signage provides additional guidelines for visitors entering the Children’s Park.

Circulation is in a circle to the west of the entrance with a smaller open space to the east. The playful water feature with amphitheater-style seating is the first element that draws visitors through the portal. Springy, colorful paths weave through the dramatic topography of berms covered in artificial turf. The heavily padded paths cushion any rough landings from climbing the berms. Although river birch does not always perform well in Dallas, these trees are healthy and their exfoliating bark and animated foliage contribute to the excitement of the space.

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