While they make up a small portion of our communities, parks offer an enhanced quality of life to families young and old. Now we’re seeing municipalities rethink the way such parks can serve the population.

Through the adoption of playground designs that allow wheelchair access, cities in the Tri-Valley are increasing the number of people who can use the park. But they’re also sending a vital message of inclusivity. Something as simple as using rubber flooring, instead of tanbark, shows children in wheelchairs that the park is for them as well.

It is through these small, yet deliberate steps that we can make every person in the community feel as if they have a space in their hometown.

Local planners took the right approach by consulting with parents of children with special needs before designing future parks. As our cities grow, this inclusion in the planning process will continue to be critical to foster inclusive, equitable environments for all.