A large audience turned out for the Friends of Maryland’s Olmsted Parks and Landscapes (FMOPL) 2015 Annual Meeting on June 24 to hear Lisa Schroeder, recently-appointed President and CEO for the Parks & People Foundation, reflect on “Parks and Open Spaces: Lessons from the Pittsburgh Experience.”
Lisa Schroeder brings to Baltimore her 15-year experience heading up Pittsburgh’s non-profit Riverlife organization. There she oversaw its trajectory from a start-up into a civic force responsible for the redevelopment of Pittsburgh’s riverfronts— eventually transforming 63 acres of green landscapes, trails and bridge connections into Three Rivers Park, a grand, 13-mile continuous loop of riverfront parks and trails.
What can Baltimore learn from Pittsburgh? Ms. Schroeder offered ten guiding principles:
- Think bold and act like you mean it
- Listen (especially to the non-choir)
- Bring the best, most open minds to the table
- Don’t just plan; IMPLEMENT!
- Partnership, Partnership, Partnership
- Pay attention to details and to the edges
- Keep aiming for the high bar
- Believe in the power of value creation
- If you build it, and make it open to ALL, they will come
- Believe that people in a struggling city deserve the best
These principles are a timely reminder of the work ahead if we are collectively going to improve, expand, and re-imagine the area’s parks and public open spaces. They are also a testament to the bold vision of the Olmsteds, who advocated for public parks that were democratic spaces, connected communities and regions, were well designed, and accessible to ALL citizens. FMOPL looks forward to helping to working with Ms. Schroeder to advance these principles to create a greener, more just city.