Parks should be multifunctional.
They should appeal to a range of users and provide for year round enjoyment. Incorporate simple, uncluttered areas which are flexible and adaptable to a range of activities and allow multiple users to happily coexist. Work together with the community to accommodate their needs, allowing for a variety of uses and experiences.
Cater for a wide range of users
Provide a wide range of events and facilities, so that more people will be interested in visiting the park. Maintain a balance between established programmed areas verses flexible open areas. Ideally, designs should provide something for all age groups, particularly for adolescents (especially teenage girls), who are often not considered in park designs. Dogs and their owners should also be catered for. Careful consideration must be given to how dogs might affect other park users. Facilities should be adaptable to the changing needs of the community.
Successfully cater for a range of users by:
- identifying any facilities that are in great demand at the site or nearby parks, which may indicate the need for additions
- understanding the informal recreation opportunities that are available in the surrounding area. Consider designing a park (depending on scale) that caters for one particular use which is currently underrepresented in the neighbourhood, e.g. a quiet place of respite for older people to be away from children
- ensuring amenities are suited to a wide range of user groups (e.g. arm rests on some seats for the ageing population
- incorporating facilities for dogs and their owners, such as dog poo disposal bins
- providing power and water outletsfor events. Understand the power loading required (single or three phase) and ensure power is located above ground in a lockable box or concealed in a planter or nib wall
- anticipating any conflicts that could occur between different user groups, such as quiet passive areas right next to active and noisy ones, and adjusting the layout or providing buffers accordingly
- locating facilities for different age groups close together, so small children can be watched by older siblings
- integrating facilities for dogs and their owners into the space. Consider providing alternative routes for dog walkers away from small children in play areas.
Create flexible open space
Communities are always subject to change, and successful park environments provide flexible open spaces that can accommodate changes in use over time. These spaces can accommodate a diverse range of activities and encourage a greater number of people to enjoy the park.
Create flexible open spaces by:
- providing different sized spaces, including larger open lawn areas where events can take place and smaller spaces for groups or individuals to gather
- ensuring the placement of large growing trees will not affect the long term usability of the park
- anticipating infrastructure and spatial needs for different activities
- not cluttering the park with unnecessary signage, amenity facilities or bollards. Where amenity facilities are required, cluster them together. Parks are most flexible when the majority of the space is open and free for communities to use them as they see fit.