Raleigh’s Changing Parks: Equitable Access, Gentrification, and Trust


Raleigh, North Carolina, like other cities in the U.S., has a storied past of segregation. The city continues to grapple with challenges relating to equitable access to parks, gentrification and trust. Based on values of equity, collaboration, inclusionary engagement, partnerships and artistic opportunities, Raleigh is taking on these issues through multiple public space projects.

The City’s transformation is one that puts forth questions related to its priorities, highlighting that in many cases life-time residents and new ones have different realities and expectations. Panelists will discuss the successes and challenges of three projects and demonstrate how common design and development practices can be replicated in other cities.


  • Gain a better understanding of how communities calculate their use of discretionary time so that programming and community engagement with public agencies is meaningful
  • Learn how to develop community initiatives that embrace the opportunity to promote multigenerational experiences to advance priorities
  • Understand ways to move beyond common practices and allow communities to develop opportunities to co-create narratives and engage with artists to establish shared places for gathering


Grady Bussey

Community Center Director, John Chavis Memorial Park, Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resource Department

Mickey Fearn

Professor of Practice, North Carolina State University School of Natural Resources

Emily McCoy

Principal Landscape Architect, Design Workshop

Stephen Bentley

Assistant Director, City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources