Harvard GSD — 'Can Parkitecture Heal? Jeanne Gang on making American National Parks “more accessible, more inviting, and more welcoming”'

Alex Anderson interviews Harvard Professor in Practice Jeanne Gang about her 2020 GSD studio and highlights student projects which strive to make public parks more inclusive and sustainable to a diverse audience.

"The studio focused on Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the most frequently visited park in the system. A regular flood of visitors puts immense pressure on the park facilities, and its two aging visitor centers have become inadequate. More critical, Gang emphasizes, is that even though the park is close to some adjacent towns that can bring in more a diverse population, there is not much programming to introduce the park to people who would not normally visit. Park Superintendent Cassius Cash, who met with the students early on, has begun to address this problem. He recently inaugurated Hikes for Healing, a program which brings visitors from local communities to enjoy the park while working with a moderator to discuss persistent social conflicts that deeply affect them—and the nation—in a time of strife. . . . Gang and Cahan challenged their students to consider this type of cultural programming while designing park facilities. They asked students to think about events that might broaden the park’s appeal, particularly to those who do not generally turn to nature for enjoyment and solace."

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