How to create a sustainable community park
Date published 13 October 2015
A community park can provide many benefits to the neighbourhood. In addition to beautifying the urban landscape, parks contribute to improved health, reduced crime, social bonding and even better academic performance for children.
However, as parks require significant upkeep, it’s important to ensure they are built sustainably, reducing waste and conserving natural resources to continue benefiting the community far into the future.
Using recyclable materials
One great way to make a park more sustainable is to source furniture made from recycled or recyclable materials. Park benches, for example, can be made from all manner of sustainable timber, plastics, aluminium and stainless steel that are eye-catching, comfortable and built to last.
The Big Harris Bench is a great example of park seating built from a mix of sustainable timber and steel, and is suitable for any urban community space.
On-site compost bins
Many parks include rubbish bins, but a sustainable community park should also feature recycling and even compost bins. On-site composting allows people in the neighbourhood to responsibly dispose of grass clippings, vegetable scraps and other compostable materials, which will then be used to improve the soil quality of the park’s plants.
Reusing water supplies
Parks tend to contain lots of greenery, which translates into a significant water bill. You can reduce water wastage by collecting both graywater from park facilities and storm water, and reusing these for your landscape irrigation.
Also, some irrigation systems are more efficient than others. Soaker hoses and drip irrigation systems use up to 70% less water, gradually releasing moisture into the soil rather than flooding it and creating wasteful runoff.
Planting native trees and shrubs
Increasing the number and diversity of plants in a park has a number of environmental benefits, including resistance to flooding and erosion, better air cooling and pollution filtration. Native plants are an even better choice, as being suited to the climate makes them easier to maintain than foreign species.
Some excellent native trees for a community park include the Cabbage Tree (Torquay Palm), Rautini (Chatham Island Christmas Tree) and Southern Rata. To prolong the life of a park’s plants, tree protectors such as grates allow trees to flourish even in more built-up urban areas.
Browse urban furniture
Sustainable community parks are a victory for patrons, the environment and the owner’s wallet. Since a park just isn’t a park without seating, check out Urban Effects’ range of urban furniture for park benches, planters, drinking fountains, bins, bike racks and more.