Setting a Standard for South Bend Green Space

Sb Park

Matthew Schaefer

My capstone presents recommended sustainability standards for parks in the city of South Bend. The goal of these standards is to inform a city policy mandating that parks in South Bend, upon their construction or renovation, meet sustainability standards and make the parks a greater asset to their surrounding neighborhoods.

Recommended standards are intended primarily to serve city employees in the City of South Bend Department of Venues, Parks, and Arts, as well as city planners and landscape architects who work with the city. South Bend citizens can also access the final document to learn about park sustainability standards and associated benefits as the city renovates its parks.

The recommended sustainability standards in my capstone are based on master plans, sustainability initiatives, and interviews of Parks Department personnel from Boulder, Detroit, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Minneapolis, Nashville, and Seattle; Oregon’s sustainability guidelines; American Society of Landscape Architect design guidelines; and guidebooks from the International CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) Association. Feedback from South Bend residents regarding their own park system, particularly the riverfront, also informed recommended standards.

Roadside BioswaleRoadside Bioswale

The recommended sustainability standards assist the city with addressing environmental (maintaining water quality, protecting wildlife, managing waste, and keeping energy use low), social (offering opportunities to youth, seniors, disabled residents, and low income residents; keeping residents safe from injury or crime in parks), and economic (using parks to support local businesses and keeping maintenance costs low) sustainability issues. Standards are individually numbered within an area, and areas are lettered A-J. In each area, the standards are broken up into the phases of Pre-Design, Design, Construction, and Post-Construction Operation. 

A checklist containing the recommended standards is also provided in the final capstone, organized by the phases, Pre-Design, Design, Construction, and Post-Construction Operation to assist city planners and landscape architects with meeting the recommended standards. The letter and number combination listed in the checklist corresponds with the document text. 

The checklist and recommended standards are intended to inform and facilitate adoption of a policy that guides future park renovation and construction for the city of South Bend.