Post-disaster Parks: Prospects, Problems, and Prescriptions
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Parks created on post-disaster landscapes present unique opportunities for education, research, tourism, and other activities, yet there are obstacles to their development for these purposes. Stakeholder conflicts, financial troubles, technical issues, or safety concerns may complicate park creation on these sites. This study examines parks that have been or are being developed on disaster sites, including Texas’s Canyon Lake Gorge where a disaster scar is being developed into a natural interpretive area where education, research, and tourism are now taking place. The goal of this research is to highlight the opportunities and obstacles involved in post-disaster park making and inspire further research into this type of recovery plan. It also seeks to encourage decision-makers to consider park development as a viable option in the wake of a disaster. The study asks the questions: Where have parks been created on lands that have been devastated by either natural or human-induced disasters? What are the prospects and problems for creating these post-disaster parks? In the wake of a disaster, many important decisions have to be made, including what to do with the land affected by the event. This research is the first to examine the creation of parks in places that are known to be or are expected to be hazardous to human users. As such, the scholarly contribution of this research is to evaluate this form of adaptation or adjustment to societal risk perception as hazard mitigation. Furthermore, it is hoped that the results of this research will be useful to local government officials, park managers, community members, disaster recovery experts, non-governmental agencies, private landowners, and other decision-makers for post-disaster sites.