City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PARD announces that the Our Parks, Our Future Long-Range Plan has won a 2021 National Planning Excellence Award.
Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) announces that the Our Parks, Our Future Long-Range Plan has won a 2021 National Planning Excellence Award from the American Planning Association (APA). APA’s National Planning Awards program recognizes outstanding planning efforts that help lead communities forward to a stronger, more equitable, and sustainable future. Award recipients are selected by a jury of planning practitioners and only one award recipient is selected in each of the four award categories.
PARD's Long Range Plan provides a blueprint to guide land acquisition, capital improvements, and the development of programs and new amenities. The planning effort began with inventory, evaluation of park and facilities, an analysis of demographic data, and trends and industry standards for parks. Public outreach played a critical role throughout the process with in-depth engagement of citizens, park supporters, conservancies, neighborhood associations, nonprofit organizations, and public partners. The result is a blueprint to guide the growth and development of Austin’s park and recreation system for the next 10 years. Our Parks, Our Future was led by WRT, a national planning and design firm, and was funded in part through contributions from Austin Parks Foundation. The plan was previously awarded an APA Sustainable Communities Award and an Honor Award from the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.
“Austin’s Parks and Rec plan illustrates the vital importance of public and green space within a community, but also demonstrates how those spaces must be accessible to all members of the community regardless of race, ability, or gender,” said Kristen Asp, AICP, 2021 APA awards jury chair. “The jury was impressed with the strong level of accountability built into the plan so the community continues to be part of the planning process.”
This year’s award recipients were honored through a virtual celebration broadcast that premiered on APA’s YouTube and Facebook channels at 1 p.m. CT, on June 10, 2021. Past award winning projects in Austin include the Austin Historic Cemeteries Vision Plan and the Mueller Redevelopment.
About Austin Parks and Recreation
Austin Parks and Recreation seeks to inspire our community to learn, play, protect and connect by creating diverse programs and experiences in sustainable natural spaces and public places. This City of Austin Department protects and maintains parkland, urban forest, and trails as well as offering sports, recreation, educational enrichment, arts programs, cultural opportunities, and nature and aquatic activities for Austinites. For more information visit AustinTexas.gov/Parks.
About Austin Parks Foundation
Austin Parks Foundation (APF) is dedicated to improving the quality of life for the people of Austin and Travis County by strengthening the region’s parks system, which spans more than 29,000 acres. A non-profit established in 1992, APF addresses the city’s funding and resource gap in order to develop, maintain, and enhance the area’s 300+ parks, trails, and green spaces. APF fosters innovative public/private partnerships and since 2006, has given more than $2.5 million in community grants to the greater Austin community. APF is known for its annual flagship volunteer event, It’s My Park Day, and is a presenting partner and beneficiary of Austin City Limits Music Festival at Zilker Metropolitan Park. For more information, please visit AustinParks.org.
WRT is a team of planners, urban designers, architects, and landscape architects, working across scales to create enduring, transformative, communities, parks, and open spaces. WRT previously worked with the City of Austin on the award-winning Imagine Austin Comprehensive Plan and led the consultant team in support of PARD for Our Parks, Our Future. The consultant team included: WRT, PROS Consulting, Studio Balcones, Civic Arts, Adisa Communications, The Trust for Public Land, and ETC Institute.
About the American Planning Association
The American Planning Association is an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides vital leadership in creating great communities for all. APA and its professional institute, the American Institute of Certified Planners, are dedicated to advancing the profession of planning, offering better choices for where and how people work and live. The more than 40,000 APA members work in concert with community residents, civic leaders and business interests to create communities that enrich people's lives. Through its philanthropic work, APA’s Foundation helps to reduce economic and social barriers to good planning. APA is based in Washington, D.C., and Chicago. Learn more at www.planning.org.