Community Engagement as Input to the Design of the Environmental Center at Frick Park and Beyond

by Tamara Dubowitz, Kristy Gonzalez Morganti, Rachel M. Burns, Marla C. Haims

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In 2011, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy focused its park restoration efforts on the design and development of the new Environmental Center at Frick Park (ECFP) building, paying special attention to underserved communities and children within the vicinity of the park who have not historically participated in environmental education programming at the center. To obtain community group and resident input into the ECFP design, and to acquire information about residents' attitudes toward and use of Frick Park more generally, RAND Corporation researchers conducted community focus groups and brief informal interviews with a total of 81 local residents.

The researchers found that many residents are interested in environmental issues and education and that some currently use Frick Park. However, there is a general lack of awareness of ECFP programs and activities, and there are also many barriers to using the park. The authors offer recommendations for the design of the new building, for the structuring and content of ECFP programs, for improving access to the park and the center, and for successfully marketing park programs.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Key Findings

  • Chapter Three

    Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Community Focus Group Discussion Guide

  • Appendix B

    Brief Informal Interviews Discussion Guide

This work was sponsored by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The research was conducted in RAND Health, a unit of the RAND Corporation.

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