Supplement Feature - April 2010
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Seven Guidelines to Creative Park Design

By Daniel P. Smith


While sustainability often has been absorbed by the "green" whirlwind, the practice is far more comprehensive and complete. Today's designers frequently incorporate elements that protect and enhance the environment, such as permeable pavers and rain gardens for water runoff, and look to bring in recycled materials as well as durable, local products, an act that fosters economic sustainability.

"In the public sector, you're spending 'the people's' money,' so construction needs to be done in a responsible way. It doesn't mean cheap, it means lasting, and that's what sustainability is all about," Inman said.

Platts suggested that park departments should seek a designer with LEED certification, which signals that the designer or landscape architect has been trained in construction methods that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy for play.

"From an ecological standpoint, [LEED certification] means thinking beyond the next five years," he said.

Sustainability extends to the social side as well, namely creating a novel space that entices guests to come often and stay longer.