The Planning and Development (P&D) Agency plays an important role in ensuring that County parks and trails are well planned, designed, constructed, and preserved; socially and culturally relevant; appropriately and equitably located in all neighborhoods; physically accessible; and safe and secure. Headed by Deputy Director Alina Bokde, the Agency consists of the Planning and Development Divisions which are staffed with planners, landscape architects, architects, and other professionals.
P&D works to ensure that the wide range of benefits parks, recreational facilities, open spaces, and trails offer to both people and the natural environment are maximized. County parks provide individuals with formal and informal gathering places to be physically active, socialize, build community, relax, and connect with the natural world. They also make urban areas more inviting for living, working and playing.
In addition, they provide environmental benefits, such as erosion control, stormwater management, buffering between built and natural environments, and wildlife habitat.
P&D helps to increase access to parks and trails by planning with communities and partnering with other public, private, and nonprofit organizations to offer additional recreational opportunities. Studies have shown that inability to access recreational facilities is associated with fewer opportunities for physical activity, thus increasing risk for chronic diseases, poor health conditions, and obesity within communities. Apart from addressing community health needs, P&D staff ensure that parks and trails are appropriately planned, designed, and developed to meet the diverse social and cultural needs of the communities in which they are located.