Councils need to Pivot their Parks assets Usage NOW!
Most Councils and Government community assets are in full lock-down. Now more than ever, Local Councils Must Pivot their focus on what their Communities Can and Will do instead.
Basketball stadiums? Closed
Swimming Pools? Closed
Community Halls? Closed
Around the country these critical social assets are in shut down. And with them the absolutely vital community asset that enabled social cohesion and mental health support. But as a species, we do NOT sit still in times of stress until we have entered the phase of ‘Learned Helplessness’. Learned helplessness can be defined as a state where even when an opportunity for relief is present, the past history of discovering there is ‘no way out of the suffering’ teaches the person to not take action even when a way out has been identified’. Instead the person has mentally ‘given up and accepted their state of suffering’. Councils CANNOT allow that to happen.
So if people are not going to sit still, where will people go for relief? OUTSIDE.
And Outside means PARKS. Right now Councils MUST ‘pivot’ their operations to ramp up passive use of parks – walking, running, taking the dog for a walk, throwing a ball or frisbee within self-contained family units, reading a book on one’s own; the park based home office area and more. Councils must move beyond a ‘maintenance’ component to one in which additional temporary seating is available – all at safe distances. Where temporary fencing or visual barriers help create additonal safe spaces to congregate with one’s own family or on one’s own. Councils could consider things like identifying spaces for temporary creative works to be developed (sculpture, street painting (inc Graffiti murals) chalk parks and so on). Councils should see that Parks can take advantage of the cessation of structured and scheduled sporting activties and commandeer that space for the much larger demand for passive/non scheduled activity. More seats, more pop up desks/tables
Right now, Councils will be letting staff go through enforced layoffs. One spot for them to reallocate staff in a meaningful way is in re-creation of parks as broader social assets by redesigning how they operate as a community space.
The other is home delivery of food when Stage 4 kicks in – but that’s another post
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