Why are so many communities so perfect and have all the recreation facilities around where people live? It makes life more enjoyable, less stressful, and also safer to start a family. People who live in these types of areas are healthier, happier, and get the exercise they need. The quality of life that is gathered from an adequate urban development of this type is almost incalculable from the monetary point of view.

I’d like to introduce you to an expert on the subject, someone who has written an excellent book, one that I think everyone in urban planning and design should read. Also for those people who are building master planned communities that include recreational facilities, parks, etc., they should take a look at this book. The name of the work is;

“Recreational Planning and Design”, by Seymour Gold, 1980

Author Seymour M. Gold has a Ph.D. in urban and residential planning from the University of California at Davis, where he specializes in environmental planning. The book reviews the history of how these types of communities have emerged in the United States. In this book he takes us from the seventeenth century to 1980. Chapters;

  • 1600-16 14 Boston Commons
  • 1700 to 1712 Municipal Forest in New Hampshire
  • 1800 to 1850 Chicago Park
  • Central Park in the 1840s
  • Golden Gate Park in 1865
  • In the 1880s, these types of communities became commonplace.

The story itself is totally fascinating and interesting, but when put into modern context, Gold literally explains how to make magic happen. It talks about urban planning and the life and recreation cycles of the population and how they peak over a ten-year period and how they change when couples reach their 40s.

Explains the need for bike trails, horse recreation areas, skateboard parks, field sports, tennis, amphitheaters, parks and picnic tables, hiking trails. Talk about private airports, hang gliding, recreational boating, water games, and mosquito problems. It even brings us up to date with golf communities and how to make them work.

He also talks about the negative aspects when communities are not built correctly; poverty, crime, maintenance costs, pollution, civil disobedience, social class separations, increased rules, excessive surveillance, heavy taxes and fees. So this book and research project brings us full circle; past, present and how to better design things for the future and what to avoid.

Anyone with a degree in urban planning should read this book, along with all the young people who are now growing up using SimCity design techniques to design our towns, communities and cities of the future. Consider all of this.

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