Parks of the 21st Century, when well-integrated into the fabric of place and community purpose, can transform stagnant regions to vibrant and dynamic spaces of lasting value. This is the fundamental premise of the 2012 RDG Design Residency – that it is possible to create, support and sustain a state park system of exceptional benefit to the economy, to the landscape, to community, to all peoples.
Last year's residency was built from the challenge facing RDG Planning & Design and the Iowa Park Foundation: strategically planning for the state of Iowa's 21st Century Parks System. What must be the vision and mission of a truly health park system? What are the obstacles and opportunities to achieve that vision – at what cost and with what timeline? What are the strategies that must be employed to leverage the full potential of Iowa's parks and overcome challenges faced by this – or any – park system in the country?
From technology to ecology, infrastructure to finance, playscapes to politics, lodges to fishing holes, our Design Residents were fully engaged in the world of parks planning – setting a crash-course example for an upcoming Blue Ribbon Commission on Iowa Parks of the 21st Century.
Residents reviewed current and incoming trends and data, explored model park settings and practices, and dialogue with leaders, practitioners and public. Alongside key professionals, Residents engaged in intense planning exercises to develop vision, mission, and top level strategies for Iowa Parks of the 21st Century. The Residency culminated in a presentation to key members of the Iowa Parks Foundation, community leaders, and the public late Friday afternoon, followed by a reception for and dialogue with the Residents.
2012 RDG Design Residency: