National Study Visits on Parks and Open Space

In conjunction with the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, which promotes the bold idea that everyone in urban America should live within a ten-minute walk of a high-quality park, ULI is offering 2.5 day National Study Visits to support cities with their 10-minute park access goals. Through these intensive technical assistance opportunities, communities work together with ULI District Councils and national experts, to better understand park challenges and identify strategies to overcome park access barriers and park quality deficiencies.

View the 10-Minute Walk National Study Visit Guidebook

Agency Coordination and New Partnerships to Improve Park Access and Quality in the Boyle Heights Neighborhood of Los Angeles

From November 13-15, 2019, ULI convened a group of national and local experts in Los Angeles, California, for a parks and open space National Study Visit. Using the Boyle Heights neighborhood east of downtown as a study site, experts were asked to consider the following:

  • How can the Los Angeles Recreation and Parks department leverage partnerships to build and operate parks and open space?
  • What policies should be implemented to ensure equitable public access to parks?
  • How can the public realm be improved to enhance access to parks?


Joe Brady (Metro Parks Tacoma); Scott Gilmore (Parks and Recreation, City and County of Denver); Liliana Gonzalez (Cinnaire); Shmel Graham (Sheppard Mullin); Edward Henley (Pillars Development LLC); Nate Hommel (University City District); Bridget Marquis (Reimagining the Civic Commons/U3 Advisors); Beth Silverman (Lotus Campaign)

Access the public presentation here.

Park Management for Financial Sustainability & Community Benefit in Camden, NJ

From October 2-4, 2019, ULI convened a group of national and local experts in Camden, NJ for a parks and open space National Study Visit. Informed by the 10 Minute Walk Campaign’s goals, the ULI panelists provided recommendations for marketing, programming, governing, and maximizing the benefits of a new 60-acre park space. Experts were asked to consider:

  • How can the Cramer Hill Waterfront Park be maintained, operated, and programmed in a cost-effective way?
  • What can Camden do to create high-quality park access points for residents and visitors, while paying attention to mitigation strategies to address weather-related challenges (including flooding and extreme heat)?
  • What can Camden do now to lay a foundation for future financial success of the park and surrounding neighborhood?


Study Visit Chair Glenda Hood (Hood Partners LLC); Omar Gonzalez (Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corporation); Art Hendricks (King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks / Vocalese Consulting); Derrick Lanardo Woody (DLW LLC); Jennifer Kanalos (Detroit Economic Growth Corporation); Bill Mahar (Norris Design); Allison Schapker (Fairmount Park Conservancy); Rob Sloop (Moffatt & Nichol)

Access the public presentation here.

Achieving Community Accessible Open Space within the Triangle in Lewisville, TX

From March 27-29, ULI convened a group of member and partner experts in Lewisville, TX for a parks and open space National Study Visit. Experts advised the city and area stakeholders on ensuring park access and connectivity for existing and future residents of ‘The Triangle,’ a community bounded by highways and arterial roads. Experts were asked to:

  • Develop clear strategies, tools and next steps so the city can achieve publicly accessible open space within the Triangle;
  • Ensure a focus on producing equitable outcomes that inform the redevelopment, development and connectivity to park access within the Triangle; and
  • Identify equitable community engagement strategies for residents in the Triangle.

National Experts

Study Visit Chair Cate Townley (Colorado Department of Public Health); Isabelle Domyeko (New Economics and Advisory); Adrian Engel (Fehr & Peers Parks); Clement Lau (County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation); TJ McCourt (City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Culture Resources Department); Jared Mummert (National Recreation and Park Association); Molly Plummer (The Trust for Public Land); James Rojas (Placeit)

Access the public presentation here.

Land Acquisition Strategies for Equitable Park Access in Grand Rapids, MI

From March 25-27, ULI convened a group of member and partner experts in Grand Rapids, MI  for a parks and open space National Study Visit. Experts advised the city and area stakeholders on a land acquisition strategy for equitable park access. Experts were asked to consider several factors, including:

  • The optimal location for new parks to ensure that all existing residents are within a 10-minute walk to the space;
  • Options for size and placement that would have the largest impact on equitable park access;
  • Specific properties that would be ideal for future park space;
  • Consideration of the city’s growth patterns to plan for future parks; and
  • Consideration of land values to guide the budget for future park space acquisitions.

National Experts

Study Visit Chair Melani V. Smith (Los Angeles Metro/Sol Price School of Planning at the University of Southern California); Rachel Banner (National Recreation and Park Association); Ryan P. Cambridge (Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf); Juan Cano (Cano Development); Darryl Ford (City of Los Angeles Recreation and Parks); Douglas W. Hattaway (The Trust for Public Land); Erin Lonoff (HR&A); Jon Trementozzi (Landwise)

Download the summary report here. Access the public presentation here.