The Garden Guide

Book: Landscape Planning and Environmental Impact Design: from EIA to EID
Chapter: Chapter 2 Landscape plans for public goods

Social process landscape plans: RECREATION

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Recreation plans

Outdoor recreation plans should look far into the future. Every city must have outdoor space in which people can re-create themselves after days and weeks indoors. They need fresh air, beautiful views and access to water. Some outdoor recreational activities will be run as private businesses, like golf courses, or as public facilities, like parks. Others activities will be non-commercial by-products of farming, forestry, water storage and other major land uses. These may include walking in the countryside, swimming in rivers, looking at wildlife and admiring scenery. Good planning can increase recreational resources. No planning will cause them to diminish. Public goods may be funded by regular payments, obtained by taxation, or they may be owned. Rights of ownership may be inherited, or purchased, or acquired through legislation. In many European countries, but not England , there is a blanket right of access to forests and uncultivated uplands. Since the policy yields valuable public goods at very little cost to land owners, it will probably come to exist in England at some point in the future. Public access to footpaths through cultivated land is more probl ema tic. England has a historic network of rights of way, much of which does run through agricultural land. It once served the needs of farming people who walked to work, to school, to mark et and to church. Many of the routes r ema in in use, although they are most likely to be used for recreation. The problem is that old routes rarely suit the needs of today's population. They do not go from today's origins to today's destinations. Footpaths over privately owned rural land are an example of a right which can be publicly owned. Recreation maps should be prepared showing an ideal network of footpaths. New recreational rights may be acquired for the public by voluntary sale or compulsory acquisition. They might also be given or bequeathed to the public by a generous landowner. There are many examples of private landowners bequeathing land to the public. Other landowners might choose to give away rights without giving away their land. Or recreational rights could be obtained by the public as compensation for the negative side effects of mineral working or other developments. Public rights to camp for a night, to ride a horse, or to collect wild food, should also be indicated on the recreation plan. The important point is that valuable rights are most likely to be acquired when they have been planned long in advance of their acquisition.