History, Place, and Identity


As the cultural identity of neighborhoods change, so do park needs. Park designers are working directly with community residents to create adaptable, accessible, and functional spaces reflective of local needs and changing environmental conditions. But when working on sites with complex social histories, it can be difficult to weave together diverse interests into a cohesive vision.

Through a review of rehabilitation projects underway at three national parks in urban settings and one city park, this panel dialogue will explore the role of storytelling and narrative in the design process aimed at building more resilient parks and enduring cultural landscapes. In this presentation, you will hear insights on approaches to updating historic urban parks without taking away the intrinsic character of the space.


  • Gain an understanding of how to use storytelling to reclaim historically significant spaces and embrace difficult design challenges and stakeholder interests
  • Learn how stories and narrative can support resiliency goals that go beyond just the ecological to include social wellbeing and cultural heritage
  • Utilize community histories and cultural markers to tailor parks for the communities they serve


Gina Ford

Principal and Co-Founder, Agency Landscape + Planning

Richard Crockett

Principal, SWA Group

Yadiel Rivera-Díaz

Partner, Marvel