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.
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.
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.