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How do you transform parks and outdoor spaces to build communities?
Parks and public spaces are often thought of as the centre of a neighbourhood and its community where people can relax as well as spend time together and be active. With the rise of the ‘indoor’ generation and studies showing people spend up to 90% of their time inside, creating public spaces that invite and motivate people to spend more time outside can help build a community and contribute to improving their quality of life.
What does the community want?
Asking people within the community about how they would best utilise the available outdoor space will undoubtedly lead to a range of different answers and people will have the opportunity to highlight where the current outdoor spaces are inadequate or lacking in facilities. This public consultation is key to shaping plans for an outdoor area and to getting buy in from the community that will ultimately use it. The development, planning and transformation of an outdoor area will depend on the array of people who will be using it.
Engaging the active
Parks and public spaces need to offer a variety of amenities that enable people to be active as well as relaxed. Apart from your standard playground, parks and outdoor spaces can offer options for the active members of the community. Sports facilities such as fitness equipment, an obstacle course and a (multi-purpose) sports field or court are great options. Remembering that sports bring people together, it is also important to consider the people who come to watch these activities. Providing adequate seating for spectators is a fantastic way to enable all the members of the community to get involved in the event. Grandstand or tiered seating are popular seating options for spectator seating of sports events and practical, well-positioned grandstands help to create a successful well-utilised venue.
Escaping the indoors
As parks and public spaces are multi-purpose, they naturally invite and encourage all types of users. Whether reading a book or studying, having a picnic or taking a dog for a walk, people congregate in open public spaces substituting the indoors for the fresh air and open space. To help them to relax, socialise and enjoy, parks and outdoor spaces need to have plenty of seating to allow them to have a meal with friends or sit down to read a book, or take a break from a strenuous dog walking session. Dog owners also like to have areas where a dog can stretch their legs and go off leash where they are not interrupting other members of the community. Other popular park features include water fountains, drinking fountains, ponds, and suitable fencing to ensure areas of the outdoors which need to be sectioned off are done so in a way that compliments the natural landscape.
Alongside transforming public spaces, organising events can be a great way to engage the community. According to research, 83 percent of Australians believe that organised events help them to connect with others in their local community. While there are countless possible activities to organise, some popular successful ideas include quiz nights, cooking and food festivals, swap shops, street parties, film screenings, gardening days and treasure hunts. To help build a community that has ‘something for everyone’, organising some of these as regular or reoccurring events will help to build a community for everyone.
Once you have undertaken your research and completed the planning of your outdoor space, it’s time to finalise the selection of any equipment and outdoor furniture you require. Ensuring equipment is safe, durable and premium quality is important for enabling the community to enjoy these spaces for a long period to come. Substituting with lesser quality and cheaper products means the facilities will deteriorate quicker and there will be a higher likelihood of the outdoor space becoming an eyesore and no longer well-used. Our wide range of Australian-made premium quality products are tough, durable and will help you get started on creating an amazing outdoor space.
For active communities, our grandstand seating is a must to create a true fan experience for everyone to enjoy. From 2 to 3-tiered seating to our deluxe or sunsafe select grandstand, there is a spectator seating choice suitable for you. Whatever your needs, our range of stands provide solutions for every type of space.
Our sheltered park settings are perfect for your community to enjoy a meal, browse a magazine, read a book or enjoy a conversation with friends or family. In addition to the protection that these shelters provide against weather and nature, installing shelter seating creates focus points that will draw people to sit down, share a meal or simply watch the activities that are going on around them.
Bench seating can be added along footpaths to increase accessibility of walking trails to all the community. Bench seating with backrests placed next to flower beds and ponds provide a perfect spot to sit down and enjoy the environment. To ensure public and outdoor spaces are well-maintained and clean, it is important to include strategic and well-positioned waste and recycling bins to help keep the outdoor space clean and inviting.
Interested in finding out more? Contact our team of experts for advice on transforming your outdoor space into an attractive well-used community area that people can enjoy for many years into the future.