Priority Action 1.3. Ensure access to spaces that are intentionally designed to support casual, impromptu use and connection with nature.
The community consistently expressed a strong desire to preserve and intentionally create spaces that can be used for relaxation, reflection and informal activities — what this plan refers to as “casual use” spaces. These spaces are essential to a public space system that supports the whole community and creates opportunities for spontaneous, positive social experiences. By encouraging those with diverse ages and backgrounds to gather and linger, casual spaces can facilitate “bridging” social capital and intercultural dialogue (see following callout pages 62 and 63 for more on casual use spaces).
1.3.1. Undertake an inventory of casual use spaces to better understand their distribution and gaps.
Casual use space is a new concept, and as such, has not been inventoried. Further refining this concept should enable an inventory to be completed.
1.3.2. Explore opportunities to develop standards for casual use spaces.
As this concept is new and there is no inventory or benchmarking data available, the County should explore ways to develop standards for casual use spaces.
1.3.3. When developing plans for public spaces, include intentionally designed casual use spaces where appropriate.
Casual use spaces have already been incorporated in the park master plans for Short Bridge Park (2018), Jennie Dean Park (2018), Shirlington Park (2018), and framework plan for Benjamin Banneker Park (2017).