Places for rejuvenation, play, recreation, appreciation of natural beauty, ecological benefit, and community interaction in a landscape setting

Cities are distinguished by their parks, recreational facilities, trails, and open space systems as much as by their architecture, landmarks, cultural facilities and people. They are counterpoints to the density and pressures of urban living. They integrate the built environment with its landscape setting and link us to the natural systems that sustain our lives.  Parks are extensions of our culture and an essential part of our quality of life, providing opportunities for healthful interaction among people and with nature.  As our cities grow, we need foresight to preserve and restore parklands, so they might serve the changing populations of our neighborhoods, communities, and regions.

Parks and recreation facilities provide opportunities for organized and informal play for people of all ages, neighborhood socials, picnicking, community events, exploration, and quiet contemplation in a landscape setting.  The landscape creates the framework for programmed activities – a form of public garden, scaled and composed to gracefully accommodate the various uses desired by the community, while meeting the maintenance realities of the responsible agency.  Skillful spatial arrangements and flow among various activity areas builds upon an understanding of complementary and mutually supportive uses, balanced with the overall landscape experience.

Trails provide vehicle-free access for recreation, community engagement, and contact with nature as well as commuting.  More and more, public trails in urban areas are people’s primary links among home, work, shopping, parks, open space, as well as civic and cultural facilities.  Different users – pedestrians, bicyclists, equestrians, and others – place a variety of demands and impacts on trails influencing alignments, widths, surface materials, gradients, accessibility, and access controls.  Staging areas for trails, either independent or integrated into parks, introduce the experience as people move from vehicles, organize themselves, and become trail users.  Staging area design is a critical consideration for successful trails.

John Northmore Roberts & Associates has designed parks, recreation facilities, trails, and open space networks for national, state, regional, and municipal agencies and for private property owners.  Each project has become a joyful, meaningful catalyst for community life.

Successfully completed projects include the following:

  • neighborhood parks
  • public gardens
  • sports facilities
  • play areas
  • historic landscapes
  • landfill reclamation
  • restored natural preserves
  • small urban plazas
  • trail systems for entire cities or regions
  • specific urban and rural trails
  • staging areas and public access to specific or unique places