Understanding the common and diverse interests of a community through a participatory process for the redesign of a local park and school ground

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Cheng, Caron Elizabeth
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University of Guelph

Outdoor community spaces are integral to providing opportunities for growth and development, social interaction, and nature appreciation. Local community involvement in developing these spaces has commonly been limited, leading to design decisions and prescribed elements that fail to accommodate the intended users' interests. To better engage community members, a participatory process that solicited input for the redesign of a park and school ground in Guelph was facilitated. The case study assembled key stakeholders directly affected by the site and through collaborative sessions, had them identify and share their associated interests, needs and concerns. Results are reviewed through a content analysis to determine common and diverse themes which yield design implications. Conclusions elaborate how the participatory process represents a meaningful and effective approach to designing community spaces by facilitating direct public involvement, co-operative sharing, and positive outcomes including a sense of empowerment, awareness and appreciation of multiple perspectives, and informed design.

outdoor community space, growth, development, social interaction, nature appreciation, local community involvement, design, user interests, participatory process, Guelph, public involvement, co-operative sharing, empowerment, awareness, multiple perspectives, informed design