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  • Writer's picturechasmccabe

My new year's parks & public spaces resolutions

Updated: Mar 1, 2022

I'm starting my third full year as a parks, open space, and placemaking consultant. Despite the pandemic, I feel very lucky to have engaged clients, interesting projects, and the ability to volunteer in parks, and provide pro bono work for park organizations. Still, there's more to learn and there's more to share in terms of the incredible work being done by parks nonprofits, public agencies, and lots of volunteers out working to improve parks and public spaces on a daily basis.

So, my resolution: I'm going to share more of what I'm doing and seeing in parks, open spaces, and public spaces in this forum through 2022. The work I share will vary in terms of length, focus, and importance. But, there's a lot of great work being done by good people working collaboratively and both the great processes developed and the improvements that result don't get enough attention. In an era marked by a pandemic, climate change, and threats to democracy, it's hard to know where to start. What works best for me is a combination of physical and mental: the physical action in regular volunteering combined with usual work of research, analysis, writing, and presenting is key for both my physical and mental health.

Today's inspiration comes from a visit to the carriage roads and rock steps of the Mohonk Preserve, a set of protected lands and cliffs popular for climbing, bouldering, hiking, and biking. Commonly known as the Gunks and located near New Paltz, New York; I was able to visit over the holidays and appreciate the work that has been done (and continues to be done) by donors, volunteers, and skilled staffers over many decades. In many ways, these public spaces are the key legacies of the conservation and public park movement in the United States stretching back nearly two centuries.

No matter what your profession or interests are, I hope that you'll give what you can to protect and preserve our public parks and public spaces, from downtown squares and traffic-calmed alleys to vast open or wooded spaces. A little money, volunteer time, or even specific expertise is needed and welcome whereever you are. And if you need specific suggestions, I'm pleased to help you figure out a possible outlet for your talents.

Thanks for reading. Happy 2022!


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