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GOOD Ideas for Cities: Creating Pride for Public Parks

Parks are often taken for granted. How can cities get residents to support their parks on an ongoing basis?


St. Louis is a city known for its great parks. But recent budget cuts have slashed funding for public spaces, putting maintenance and educational programming in jeopardy. How can a city encourage its residents to invest their time and money to help their neighborhood parks? As part of GOOD Ideas for Cities St. Louis, HOK FIT presented several ideas for encouraging St. Louisans to take pride in their local parks. In examining the current state of public space in St. Louis, HOK FIT found that parks were taken for granted, and rarely seen as part of a larger network. A campaign to improve education and awareness about the parks system as a whole could start in schools, engendering support from young residents. But the city also needed to create physical awareness of public space by improving signage and gateways for parks. The idea is to make parks a point of community pride for St. Louis—instead of asking what neighborhood you live in or what high school you went to, you'll ask what park you grew up playing in.

Challenge: St. Louis is a region with a deep heritage in great community parks. Yet since the economic crisis, funding is scarce and the capacity of the park departments has been greatly reduced, meaning our regional, state and national parks are in serious decline. How can we ensure that the city is able to protect, preserve and maintain our prized parks for generations to come?

Susan Trautman, Great Rivers Greenway
Kevin Farrell, Partnership for Downtown St. Louis

HOK FIT: Chip Crawford, Mary Ostafi, Sarah Weissman, Charlie Lutz, Valerie Greer, Tyler Meyer, Michael Browning, Leesa Coller, Jonathan Murphy, Jason Pierce, Dhaval Barbhaya

To learn more about this idea, contact Leesa[dot]Coller[at]hok[dot]com

Video by CAM and Nine Network

GOOD Ideas for Cities pairs creative problem-solvers with real urban challenges proposed by civic leaders. To learn more visit

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