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The Circles

Making Summer Safe With Social Distance Approved Design

With the weather getting warmer and summer nearing, city planners and those working at Parks and Recreation centers across the country are thinking of ways to redesign existing parks to ensure safety.

By Sabaat Kareem

Social distancing is key to keeping the COVID-19 crisis under control, but Americans are craving the outdoors and human interaction. Some parks have adopted trends to make sure people can enjoy the season. 

Brooklyn’s Domino park was the first to draw 10-foot circles along the green to act as parameters for their visitors. White circles were drawn all over the grounds like a game board. The circles act as a visual reminder that the virus is still a threat and safety is important. Visitors choose a circle, all of which are at least six feet apart, and stay within its circumference. After making this change, parks in California have followed New York’s lead. San Francisco’s Park and Recreation Department employee, Tamara Aparton stated, “The social distancing circles, which will be in four San Francisco parks in advance of Memorial Day, is a pilot program similar to what NYC Parks has implemented in Brooklyn’s Domino Park.” So far four parks across San Francisco have adopted the circle method. 

An article published in the Philadelphia Inquirer calls on Philadelphia parks to adopt the same circle method in the city’s own parks. Urban Anthropologist, Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman, wrote in the Philadelphia Inquirer, “Providing outlines in space that nudge the user toward “proper” behavior is a great way to not only indicate how close is close enough but also provide social pressure to conform.” The National Recreation and Parks Association has put out guidelines on how to enjoy parks safely. As National Parks reopen strict precautions will need to be taken to make sure the spread of the virus isn’t increased. Hopefully parks across the country will put the circle method, among other creative design ideas, into action.