Silent Partners

By O'Brien, Eric W. | Parks & Recreation, August 1999 | Go to article overview

Silent Partners


O'Brien, Eric W., Parks & Recreation


The National Recreation and Park Association is fortunate to have many silent partners advocating the value of parks. Although they are vocal in their own right, we don't often hear their loud voices. But because they have their own agendas, this is understandable.

Two organizations stand out as very positive proponents of parks: the American Society of Landscape Architects, which is celebrating its centennial this year, and the Urban Institute, which has just published the 30-page "Partnerships for Parks" report.

Landscape architects are the primary designers of 90 percent of our parks -- both rehabilitation and new construction. They play a very valuable role in the design and construction process. In celebrating the century mark of their organization, they have undertaken a program titled "100 Parks/100 Cities," the goal of which is to build or renovate 100 parks in communities across the country. In order to accomplish this feat, chapters and national staff have entered into partnerships to assist and maintain these valuable gems, which are so vital to our local communities.

In 1994, the Urban Institute, with the aid of the Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Fund, launched a major initiative to increase the quality and quantity of urban parks for public use -- especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Over the past five years, $16 million has helped to create, restore, or improve 20 parks and greenways in cities across America. Their report is an ongoing evaluation of partnerships between public agencies and nonprofit groups; their findings will help to inform and develop urban parks. …

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