Design, operate, program and fund the development of new and revitalized urban open spaces.

With more than three decades of experience contributing to the planning and development of parks, plazas, streetscapes, and other urban spaces, HR&A has helped communities create value by making strategic connections among parks, other civic assets, and privately owned real estate.
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We view open spaces as both public amenities and catalysts of economic development, and quantify the value of those connections using robust, data-driven analysis, to demonstrate how that new value can be used to fund open space revitalization, programming, and maintenance.

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EXPERTISE

HR&A provides three core services to ensure the development and management vibrant and self-sustaining parks.

IDENTIFY FUNDING OPPORTUNITIES

HR&A understands the best practices for and relative strengths and weaknesses of public space stewardship models and can tailor to location and mission.We build financial models for open space costs, advise on value for money considerations throughout planning, assess the opportunities and challenges of alternative park stewardship models, and examine potential income sources for inclusion within a funding plan.

ENSURING SUSTAINABLE OPERATIONS AND MAINTENANCE

It is essential to plan for the ongoing operations and maintenance of new and existing open space. Our approach to producing a sustainable operations and maintenance plan takes into account three perspectives: organizational vision, park activation, and existing financing. We document the current stewardship model, evaluate ongoing capital projects and associated costs, estimate operating costs and revenue strategy; and identify potential structures that could provide ongoing and reliable revenues for park operations.

LEVERAGING PROGRAMMING TO ACTIVATE PARKS AND INCREASE VALUE

We understand that the activation of new public spaces must leverage programming for a layered set of users, including local residents and workers in downtown, citywide constituents, and visitors from throughout the region, country, and across the world. HR&A collaborates with urban design professionals and park management to evaluate the feasibility of and integrate a range of programming elements into new and existing open spaces.

SERVICES

Investment and reinvestment in urban open space increasingly depends on a demonstration of the economic value of parks and parks systems to the jurisdictions that maintain them. We work with our clients to quantify the economic value created by open space, and create an economic rationale to encourage public and private investment in support of parks.

We assess land ownership and zoning, analyze the surrounding real estate market, and create real estate pro formas to identify development opportunities, costs, and challenges. We recommend creative financing solutions that are flexible enough to respond to changing market conditions and the evolution of our clients’ long-term strategies.

In the initial stages of planning for investment, HR&A frequently collaborates with design firms to suggest an appropriate mix of programming that informs conceptualization of a stack of operating revenue that may include public funds, earned income, contributed income, and economic value capture.

Moving from the planning phase to design, construction, and operations – HR&A is frequently engaged to help structure the transaction – to take our programming, funding, and governance advice to a level that can be relied upon by sources of funding.

From time to time, HR&A is asked to actually implement the business plan. In these cases, our focus is to activate public spaces to leverage programming for a layered set of users, including local residents and workers in downtown, citywide constituents, and visitors from throughout the region, country, and across the world.

Featured Projects

HR&A has served more than 115 proposed and existing urban open spaces, parks, and park systems.

The High Line Transformation

New York, NY

HR&A prepared an economic and fiscal impact study to demonstrate that the economic and social benefits of converting an decommissioned elevated rail line in West Chelsea would would far outweigh the necessary capital costs of development. Learn More →

Economic Value Study of the Dallas Park System

Dallas, TX

With growing municipal budget constraints, the Dallas Park and Recreation Department engaged HR&A help them understand the financial return of its parks. HR&A found that Dallas parks contribute a seven-to-one return on public investment, which is approximately $678 million to the local economy every year. Learn More →

Program Development and Implementation for The Lawn on D

Boston, MA

The Lawn on D is a vibrant, flexible, program-driven landscape and event space located along Boston’s rapidly revitalizing D Street Corridor. The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority tasked HR&A with the development of a catalytic programming strategy that would serve as an innovative placemaking exercise and driver of neighborhood revitalization.   Learn More →

Contact us to learn more about our strategies for funding park development, programming, and maintenance.