The first "layer" of the vision is a great parks system. Great cities have great park systems with beautiful parks, public plazas, and outstanding natural features. Because human beings have a basic need for parks and open space, to reconnect with nature. Communities without adequate open space are dreary and depressing, socially, aesthetically and economically. While parks systems in the past were thought of as "amenities," communities across the country now realize just how much value these park systems bring to their locales.
A great parks system:
- Stimulates the physical, mental, and spiritual potential of individuals.
- Fosters good schools, jobs, housing, public transportation, clean air, and safety.
- Encourages a harmonious relationship between man and nature.
- Helps conserve energy and natural resources.
- Brings quality to the physical, social, economic, and cultural environment.
- Provides balanced and diverse recreational opportunities.
- Takes advantage of its unique features, climate, geography, population, history, and industry, and expresses them through design.
- Understands a community's roots.
- Involves people in the planning and use of projects.
Positioning for the Future
To position the department for the future, the Miami-Dade Parks System needs to be flexible across a wide range of contexts and based on delivering services rather than just on acreage and population. The current model for parks that is based on a suburban development context primarily automobile dependent and assumes the availability of large tracks of land for parks development. This model will not work in a County that is experiencing much of its growth through redevelopment and increased density.
The new model for parks acknowledges that the need for parks varies widely across the County depending on the development context and the demographics and lifestyles of a particular area. To this end, the criteria developed for the new parks system is based on recreation needs and experiences in a particular location within the rural to urban context.