Places of Action, Respite & Renewal

Whether you're operating a rustic park or a downtown square, a sports park with multiple ballfields or a destination playground, there are many decisions to make when it comes to designing and outfitting outdoor spaces.

Understanding the latest trends—as well as longstanding best practices—in park and playground planning and design is crucial to ensure you can create a place that provides the action or relaxation, the respite or renewal that your visitors are searching for.

Once a year, our Guide to Playgrounds and Park Furnishings aims to provide you with ideas and inspiration to get the ball rolling on your own planning and development, as well as ongoing changes and maintenance, for your outdoor spaces.

In this year's guide, we offer a closer look at pocket park planning. Pocket parks are just one of the strategies cities can use to increase access to outdoor spaces for their citizens. In addition, they provide a smart solution in places where empty lots might otherwise act as a blight on the landscape. Don't believe me? Take a look at how Detroit has encouraged the development of community gardens in empty lots.

From there, we turn to some of the latest trends in playground design. Multigenerational and inclusive play has gone from a nice-to-have to a must-include, but that's not all. Playgrounds that want to go above and beyond the normal post-and-platform structure find smart ways to make an impression—from themes and natural elements to unique equipment that makes kids say, "Wow!"

Last, but certainly not least, we offer up a guide to site furnishings. How do you choose the right materials and designs? Look no further than these pages. We talked with experts to find out the best materials for specific environments and budgets (as well as maintenance capabilities), as well as the best sorts of furnishings to fit your facility.

Whether you're developing a brand-new park or you'd like to revive an old one, turn the page, and get inspired.

Be well,

Emily Tipping
Editorial Director,
Recreation Management