Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces

Program Objectives

Public spaces play a vital role in all our lives — paths we bike on, parks we play in, town centers where we shop. Decisions about designing and managing these spaces can have long-term impacts on our communities’ social, economic, and environmental health.

Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces, a signature program of Purdue Extension Community Development, addresses public spaces and their role in enhancing the quality of place by helping regions, communities, and neighborhoods plan and prepare for a sustainable future.

Target Audiences

Our Indiana-based curriculum is designed for use by decision-makers and local leaders who have oversight and management of community public spaces, such as:

  • Parks boards and planning commission members
  • Public officials and their staff
  • Members of organizations whose missions relate to services, programs, or management of public spaces

Format

The program provides a framework for collecting data on community assets and using that data to design high-quality plans that guide meaningful, sustainable improvements to public spaces.

A one-day workshop starts the process, with collaborative activities to identify best practices for improving public spaces and an emphasis on forming partnerships to achieve community sustainability goals.

Follow-up working group meetings facilitated by Purdue Extension provide necessary resources and technical support to plan and implement projects tailored to individual communities.

Outcomes

Complete, high-quality action plans for public spaces can be used in a multitude of ways, including:

  • Updates for comprehensive planning efforts
  • Parks and recreation master plans
  • Fundraising initiatives

Resources

Contact Us

To learn more, visit the Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces website or contact a member of the team listed below. We will connect you with your local county Extension office to develop a program that fits your planning needs.

Kara Salazar, AICP, PCED, LEED AP ND, Assistant Program Leader and Extension Specialist for Sustainable Communities
salazark@purdue.edu
Purdue Extension, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Daniel Walker, AICP, Community Planning Extension Specialist
walke422@purdue.edu 
Purdue Extension, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Dr. Michael Wilcox, Assistant Program Leader, Purdue Extension Community Development
wilcox16@purdue.edu
Senior Associate, Purdue Center for Regional Development
Community & Regional Economics Specialist, Purdue University, Department of Agricultural Economics

Steve Yoder, Regional Extension Educator
yoder46@purdue.edu

Purdue Extension Community Development

Creating Healthy Communities

Program Objectives

In Indiana, community leaders make decisions about public spaces such as parks, trails, farmers markets, schools, and Main Streets every day that affect the health and wellness of the community. Using Purdue Extension’s Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces: Creating Healthy Communities program, facilitators coach communities through development of a high quality action plan for their public spaces. The plan can guide decisions and better position communities to take advantage of opportunities to promote healthy eating and active living.

Target Audiences

Our Indiana-based curriculum is designed for use by decision-makers and local leaders who have oversight and management of community public spaces, such as:

  • Parks boards and planning commission members
  • Public officials and their staff
  • Members of organizations whose missions relate to services, programs, or management of public spaces

Outcomes

The goal is to strategically guide policy, systems, and environmental changes relevant to the ways in which high-value public spaces promote healthy communities. As a result, communities that are prepared with a public spaces action plan can boost economic development, improve the quality of life, and create a healthier place for individuals and families.

Format

Creating Healthy Communities was developed by a comprehensive, multidisciplinary team of Purdue Extension professionals from:

  • Health and Human Sciences
  • The Nutrition Education Program
  • Community Development
  • Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

The program combines data collection and analysis with inclusive public deliberation to design high-quality action plans toward meaningful, sustainable improvements for public spaces focused on community health.

Using a science-driven, participatory approach, this curriculum includes applications of community design coupled with information resources, case studies, and strategies to enhance food access and active living through community-based programs and improvements to public spaces.

Resources

Contact Us

To learn more, visit the Enhancing the Value of Public Spaces website or contact a member of the team listed below. We will connect you with your local county Extension office to develop a program that fits your planning needs.

Blake Connolly,  MPH, Training Specialist
baconnol@purdue.edu
Purdue Extension, Nutrition Education Program

Lisa Graves, MS, RD, Assistant Program Leader
lgraves@purdue.edu
Purdue Extension, College of Health and Human Sciences

Kara Salazar, AICP, PCED, LEED AP ND, Assistant Program Leader and Extension Specialist for Sustainable Communities
salazark@purdue.edu
Purdue Extension, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Daniel Walker, AICP, Community Planning Extension Specialist
walke422@purdue.edu 
Purdue Extension, Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant

Dr. Michael Wilcox, Assistant Program Leader, Purdue Extension Community Development
wilcox16@purdue.edu
Senior Associate, Purdue Center for Regional Development
Community & Regional Economics Specialist, Purdue University, Department of Agricultural Economics