December 2019

People's Choice Awards Honors Whirligig Park in North Carolina

The American Planning Association (APA) has announced the winners of the annual People’s Choice Awards, which honors Great Places in America. Individuals are invited to offer suggestions via APA’s Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds, with final voting taking place at the APA website. This year’s top designee is Vollis Simpson Whirligig Park in Wilson, N.C. Other top vote-getters included Nicollet Commons Park in Burnsville, Minn., and Davis Square in Somerville, Mass. They join 300 other public spaces, neighborhoods and streets honored by APA since the program’s launch in 2007.

NSF International Adds New Standards for Interactive Water Play

NSF International has just established new minimum criteria for safety flooring at interactive water play venues. A step toward making recreational splash parks and water venues safer, the new section of NSF/ANSI 50: Equipment and Chemicals for Swimming Pools, Spas, Hot Tubs and Other Recreational Water Facilities addresses six performance-based requirements.

ACSM: Wearable Tech, HIIT Are Top Fitness Trends for 2020

For the second straight year, health and fitness professionals across the globe chose wearable tech the top fitness trend in the American College of Sports Medicine’s Worldwide Survey of Fitness Trends for 2020. The survey, in its 14th year, sent professionals 38 trends to rank from 1 to 10, with 1 being least trendy. The use of a smartwatch or fitness tracker to check on exercise, heart rate, calorie consumption or sleep quality is an enduring trend; wearable tech has been the top trend almost every year since 2016.

TPL Looks to Schoolyards to Improve Park Access

Creating parks and protecting land for people is the mission of the nonprofit Trust for Public Land (TPL), and the organization continues to work toward its goal of having residents in every city and town live within a 10-minute walk of a park. One proven way to accomplish this is by transforming schoolyards and making them available during non-school hours to the general public. So far, TPL has worked in dozens of cities across the United States to make this happen.