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Safety in design

Blog

Encourage diversity and help communities thrive by creating positive public spaces.
Blog
Safety in design
Encourage diversity and help communities thrive by creating positive public spaces.

Public parks create the perfect combination of social interaction and contact with nature, offering opportunities to relax with friends and people-watch, all while feeling safe and secure.

Well-designed parks are an asset to any community, but public spaces lose all of their benefits when they become unsafe or dangerous. Design, programming, maintenance and citizen involvement are all keys to creating a safe outdoor area.

Keys to creating a safe public area:

  • Locate activities and concession stands near the edge of the park or along a main pathway for ease of access.
  • Create programming and community recreation that encourages a human presence from early morning until evening. Make sure there is plenty of light to keep the park feeling safe after the sun goes down.
  • Be sure to place easy-to-understand signage and surveillance materials around the park to give the park a feeling of safety. Maps and descriptive text will help people know where they are, and how to get where they want to go.
  • Place trash receptacles in convenient locations to encourage people to clean up after themselves, giving the space a sense of cleanliness.
  • Diversify various areas of the park with different landscape textures, colors and range of activities to attract park-goers of all ages.
  • Understand how people will use the space. William Whyte's Bottom-Up Place Design Theory advocates that "people vote with their feet - they use spaces that are easy to use, that are comfortable."
  • Observe and talk to people in the community to learn about what they want in a public space.

Communities need a place to gather, celebrate, protest and grieve. Through smart design, planning and maintenance, you can create a safe space that encourages diversity and helps the community thrive.

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