May 27th, 2020

Parks and Recreation: Parks for people

By Keziah Lesko-Gosselin on December 2, 2019.

From software and architecture to logos and movie sets, design is the underlying requirement for virtually everything that has a function in our society. In many cases, what makes for ‘good’ design is its capacity to blend in seamlessly with its surroundings, while serving an efficient purpose.

Urban parks can be perfect case studies in design. Many of their components are invisible, while the ultimate goal is to draw people in for recreation and healthy living. The positive benefits of parks are practically immeasurable, and being aware of the complexities incorporated in their design can help one make the best use of these resources.

Invisible Intricacies

Infrastructure, like irrigation, roads and trails, lighting, recreation facilities, water fountains, and park benches, are integral aspects of park design. The planning required for many of these constituents frequently goes unseen by the public, however, they all contribute greatly to how people use and enjoy city parks. Parks and Recreation crews work year-round to assure our parks have healthy vegetation, are accessible to all, and offer various recreational services to help keep Hatters active.

Something as simple as deciding where to construct a trail, or even what photo to use on a sign, involves significant planning. Many parks in Medicine Hat act as corridors between neighbourhoods, facilitating pedestrian and bicycle traffic within the City. Projects like the new Rotary Centennial Trail, connecting the south end of Medicine Hat with Desert Blume, help bring our communities closer together.

Planting strategies must also be taken into account; deciding which species to plant, and where, must be considered thoroughly, as well as the inputs and amendments required to help plants grow and survive. It takes high levels of management and effort to make sure parks are places people want to spend time. Without attractive aesthetics, accessibility, and recreation opportunities, parks would simply be undeveloped spaces.

Influencing Design

Examining how people use parks can help contribute to future design concepts. Keeping up with public desires and municipal development trends is integral to keeping parks relevant to the needs of today’s communities. Medicine Hat is home to more than 115 km of trails, 80 playgrounds, 355 hectares of open space, among a vast array of other recreational amenities-this is no small feat!

To remain updated with current projects, visit Parks and Recreation’s webpage, or visit the City of Medicine Hat on social media. Your input is vital to keeping up with what Medicine Hat residents want. Community involvement will help us create better spaces and places for you!

Keziah Lesko-Gosselin works with the City’s Parks and Recreation department, leading research initiatives and providing technical support for parks projects and operations.

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