April 15 2013

Rural Parks: Homes to Passive Community Depreciation

Previously, we discussed urban parks and how cities can mitigate issues created by time and light circumstances. This week we’ll be examining rural parks.

Cheney, Washington, about 20 minutes outside of downtown Spokane, Washington.  is home to Eastern Washington University, and maintains a classic, rural university town setting. During the day, Cheney’s park system is very popular with families and college students alike. After dark, you’re more likely to see a handful of aimless college students settling in for a good, long conversation than kids.

Veteran Memorial Park during the day in Cheney, WA, USA

Cheney’s charm can turn dark once the sky does. Nonviolent crimes are typical in the town. This pattern equates to residents commonly feeling comfortable being out at night. However, this public attitude increases the likelihood that public places like parks will be littered with beer bottles, vandalized, loitered in at odd hours, and essentially taken over after dark due to careless college students.

Veteran Memorial Park after dark, with some post-production light enhancement, in Cheney, WA, USA

This is a phenomenon I like to call “passive community depreciation.” Those that are harming the community aren’t doing it with explicit and destructive intent or violence, but the community is negatively affected by a group’s or individual’s actions. If a group or individual were utilizing violence or acting specifically to harm the community to make a statement, it could be referred to as, “active community depreciation.”

Do you feel comfortable walking around rural parks at night? Why? Tell us in the comments below!

Credits: Photos by Aascot Holt. Data linked to sources.

Aascot Holt

Aascot Holt is an undergraduate at Eastern Washington University, pursuing a major in Urban and Regional Planning and a minor in Geography. She will graduate in the spring of 2013. She is from Stevenson, WA and currently lives in Spokane, WA in a brick 1936 kit house. She is most intrigued by small-city and small town planning, parks and recreation planning, long-range planning, and historic preservation. She hopes to continue her habit of being involved with many planning projects at a time, and fears being pigeonholed. Aascot maintains the “Being A Planning Student” Tumblr as well as her planning-centric blog, The Comprehensive. She is currently writing Cheney, WA’s entirely new comprehensive parks, recreation, and trails plan, completely pro bono. More can be learned about her endeavors via LinkedIn.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 15th, 2013 at 9:03 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Content, Environmental Design, Infrastructure, Land Use, Landscape Architecture, Social/Demographics, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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