We're All in This Together

Sometimes it seems like the gulfs that divide people—people of different cultures and beliefs, people from different backgrounds or locales, people with different levels of education or economic status—make it impossible to reach across and find commonality. But in this industry, where the whole point is helping people find their way into activities that support their wellness, their happiness, their sense of community—it doesn't take long to see how we are more alike than different.

When planning to build new facilities or renovate existing ones, the cacophony of voices can sound like discord, but by getting all stakeholders together at the table to plan and dream, you start to find your common ground. And, as with any endeavor that involves myriad opinions and ideas, it's never going to be possible to make everyone as happy as can be. But you can find the compromises that are most pleasing to most people.

New trends come and go, when it comes to the design and planning of sports, recreation and fitness facilities, whether that's the latest turf types in vogue for sports fields or the latest sport everyone wants to play at the rec center. In this issue, we'll take a look at some of the latest, but of course, the most important first step is always trying to bring as many people to the table as possible to find out what sorts of activities, opportunities and environments your community is missing or wanting more of.

Once all the dreams are shared, you can start to narrow your path based on what is possible, given the space and resources you have, along with your budget and your long-term goals. Teamed up with the right players, including local leaders, architects and engineers, planners and community members, you can whittle your dreams down into something achievable.

Just take a look at some of the projects featured on these pages. Starting on page 14, we take a closer look at how the designs of municipal aquatic facilities are adapting to new expectations and realities, with more play elements and more ways to get people through the door, both to learn to swim and to have some fun. From there, we turn our sights to sports facilities, on page 22, examining how colleges are building stadiums that aim to draw the crowds. Other features look at fitness facility design (page 28), YMCA and rec center design (page 32) and landscape and park design and planning (page 36).

Read through and see how other teams' dreams have seen fruition and gather new ideas and tried-and-true practices for your own facility, and then get your own team together to see what you can make of your planning process. Just remember, despite differing ideas and tastes that mean not everyone gets everything they want, you can still create places that encourage people to engage in wellness activities, to enjoy some camaraderie and community, to relax and recreate—places where people can come to find that we're all in this together.


Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management

[email protected]