The Common Ground Framework ft. Trust for Public Land and Welcoming America

What happens when parks are transformed into community empowerers?

This week on Podparks, we discuss this and more of parks’ crucial social role as reviewed in Trust for Public Land’s new groundbreaking report “The Common Ground Framework”.

We are joined by Cary Simmons, Director of Community Strategies at Trust for Public Land as well as Daniel Valdez, Chief External Affairs Officer at Welcoming America. 


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This July, Trust for Public Land released a new report that spotlights parks as a powerful tool to build community and incite civil action.

As Cary explains, the research positions public spaces as both critical social infrastructure and an effective tool for building a stronger sense of community.

When designed with intentionality, these spaces can effectively foster community relationships and build a community identity, that can then empower community members to become active participants in organized decision making to achieve their self-determined vision.


This podcast is only one of the many resources available inside the WUP member platform. Discover more resources and connect with park professionals around the world at 


These social roles can be especially important in a context of growing diversity in communities around the world.

TPL is working alongside national non-profit Welcoming America, whose mission is creating inclusive communities for everyone including immigrants, in the quest to turn this framework into a reality in public spaces across the country.

Daniel discusses the importance of explicitly addressing immigrant experiences and immigrant cultural recognition in the planning, creating and managing processes of public spaces.

As he mentions, immigrant communities face compounding barriers of entry into public life, which is why parks and outdoor spaces are important catalysts for inclusion and equity. 

The guests discuss the next steps to bring the framework into a reality – a pilot program in eight cities across the country that will seek to implement these strategies to convert local parks into vibrant and inclusive spaces for their communities.

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