On the Road Again
Updated: Sep 21
By Charlie McCabe
(Rain garden, Milton Street, Arlington, MA)
When I first started consulting nearly three years ago, I assumed that my work would involve a fair amount of travel, as working with parks, open space, and placemaking projects in cities across the United States is better when you can experience the outdoor spaces you're trying to help and talk to the people working on them face to face. As we all know, travel did cease for many of us for a time and we worked via video conferences, phone calls, and shared documents. My last trip in 2020 was to Detroit in early March. My first trip back was to Detroit in October 2021. Since then, I've continued to work primarily remotely with a few trips here and there, knowing that once the summer vacation season subsided, I'd be doing a bit more.
That time has arrived. In the next month, I'll visit Salt Lake City, Dallas, Tulsa, Providence, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area. A bit farther out, Seattle remains likely. Mostly, it will be talking, taking notes, and doing some training with small groups of people. I've also managed to squeeze in some fun, since my in-laws live in Dallas and good friends live in the Bay Area. But there will be plenty of parks and open spaces to visit and report back on. Here's what I hope to write about in future stories:
Salt Lake City - I've only been there in the winter a few times on my way to ski. I'm looking forward to a specific focus on downtown parks and working with the city's Public Lands department.
Dallas - There's lots of park development and expansion going on here. I'll be in Dallas for a short time in between Salt Lake City and Tulsa, but want to check out the new downtown parks—a collaboration between Parks for Downtown Dallas; the city; and Downtown Dallas, Inc., the business improvement district.
Tulsa - Our primary focus is visiting and providing presentations and training for Gathering Place, but also learning about some of the history, current challenges, and opportunities in Tulsa.
Providence - We're working with the Downtown Providence Parks Network, a joint effort of the city, the Providence Foundation, and property and business owners downtown. Providence has undergone a tremendous transformation in recent years and has a wide range of parks and open spaces.
Los Angeles - Through my consulting with the Institute for Urban Parks (part of the Central Park Conservancy), I'll be assisting with the fall parks roundtable held at Grand Park. We're working with other nonprofits, the city, and county parks systems to explore some of the great work they are doing with park expansion and community engagement through some unique public funding mechanisms.
San Francisco - I'm hoping to visit the newly opened tunnel tops portion of the Presidio, as well as enjoying some of great open space district trails in the Bay Area.
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