Community Leadership in Planning and Managing Parks and Public Spaces


Community-driven programming of parks is becoming more commonplace, but this panel will share the story of two cities where local residents have been deeply engaged in the design and management of their parks. A new park master plan in one faced conflicting goals, objectives, and a competing sense of ownership. The city’s Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services Department ultimately developed a design plan amidst challenging issues of race by leveraging existing community resources to engage two neighborhoods in a historically disenfranchised area, encouraging residents to fully participate in the process and advocate for their needs.

In another city, an urban open space in its oldest surviving African American neighborhood is the first public space to be completely managed by a community-led group. Join leaders from both cities who will share successes and lessons learned in how they are transforming local parks through deep engagement in community visioning, input, and leadership.


  • Learn about strategies for working with residents from historically disenfranchised communities to co-create park spaces
  • Learn approaches to gain consensus when adjoining neighborhoods and stakeholders are not in agreement on creation strategies
  • Identify keys to successful park delivery when all stakeholders do not agree on an approach


Latifah Abdullah

Community Leader, North Richmond, CA

Tim Mollette-Parks

Partner, Mithun

Mitchell Silver

Principal and Vice President of Urban Planning, McAdams

Yves Zsutty

Former Division Manager for Capital Improvement Program, City of San Jose