Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

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Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby ragerunner1 » Mon Mar 12, 2018 12:40 pm

My career is focused on redevelopment and placemaking for cities around the United States. I find it exciting to help a community integrate economics, public spaces, private spaces and their surrounding environments into a more cohesive space for people to live, work, create and play in. This effort includes how buildings, nature, lights, smells, sounds, landscapes, signage and other urban elements can interrelate.

I have also loved visiting theme parks, since I was a small kid, and have found that many of these parks are some of the best places to see placemaking in action, in a more controlled environment. The opportunity to take pedestrian spaces and integrate landscapes, smells, sounds, lighting, architecture and play can provide great examples for how to bring many of these elements into our built communities. So I thought I would start a thread on this subject.

One of my favorite times inside a park is right at dusk when the day time elements and night time elements are both visible and are merged together. So I thought I would kick off this thread with a look at lighting (during dusk) at one of the best theme parks in the world, WDW’s Magic Kingdom.

Lighting can accentuate architectural elements, Landscaping, signage, entry points, pedestrian space and create a sense of safety. Lighting is also used to strengthen the theme of a structure or environment. When used right it can also soften, enliven or help activate a location.

Magic Kingdom - Lighting

Adventureland

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Inside the Tiki Tower
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Frontierland

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Up next Liberty Square and Fantasyland
Last edited by ragerunner1 on Mon Oct 01, 2018 9:51 am.

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Re: Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby DoinItForTheFame » Mon Mar 12, 2018 2:24 pm

Pretty interesting topic.

There were some AMAZING photos in there! Thanks for sharing. Looking forward to more.
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Re: Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby Johnlloyd » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:30 am

This is a great topic, so thanks for creating it! I am all about landscaping at amusement parks too. Last year, during my final year of college in the Business Marketing Diploma Program at Humber College of Toronto, Ontario, I had to create a website and advertise it through various social media platforms. You may be interested in checking out my website, Art of Amusement Parks which focuses on landscaping at amusement parks, ragerunner1. :)
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Re: Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby ragerunner1 » Tue Mar 13, 2018 8:50 am

Johnlloyd wrote:This is a great topic, so thanks for creating it! I am all about landscaping at amusement parks too. Last year, during my final year of college in the Business Marketing Diploma Program at Humber College of Toronto, Ontario, I had to create a website and advertise it through various social media platforms. You may be interested in checking out my website, Art of Amusement Parks which focuses on landscaping at amusement parks, ragerunner1. :)


Thanks for the link. I will read through it. I hope to focus on at least - lighting, landscaping, signage and details/theming. Looking forward to learning what you have learned from your studies.

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Re: Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby Johnlloyd » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:13 am

ragerunner1 wrote:
Johnlloyd wrote:This is a great topic, so thanks for creating it! I am all about landscaping at amusement parks too. Last year, during my final year of college in the Business Marketing Diploma Program at Humber College of Toronto, Ontario, I had to create a website and advertise it through various social media platforms. You may be interested in checking out my website, Art of Amusement Parks which focuses on landscaping at amusement parks, ragerunner1. :)


Thanks for the link. I will read through it. I hope to focus on at least - lighting, landscaping, signage and details/theming. Looking forward to learning what you have learned from your studies.


Yes, all those aspects you listed are very important when it comes to a park's aesthetics and the overall experience of a visit to an amusement park. Art of Amusement Parks is a website based on my interest of amusement parks since at the time of the website was created, there wasn't much discussion on the topic of landscaping at amusement parks. So, it definitely made for an interesting Internet Marketing project, that I have continued on for almost a year after being in college. I am glad that I have come across someone who is like-minded when it comes to landscaping at amusement parks. :)
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Re: Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby Trackmaster » Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:03 am

With your interest in Urban development/planning and commercial amusement parks, I would be interested in what you think about Malcom Gladwell's ideas in his podcast "A Good Walk Spoiled" as a part of his Revisionist History series.

Basically, he's talking about golf courses, and not amusement parks, but I think that some of the commercial real estate tenants could apply here. Most amusement parks take up a lot of space around urban areas that could conceivably be used for other public access purposes, but profit off of the land. And, in many cases, the land could be more profitable for other purposes, but may be locked into a historic lower value of ad valorem tax purposes.

Personally, I'm a bigger fan of parks setting themselves up in more remote areas where a tourism scene can be built up around them, instead of trying to market to local markets. Lower property values, fewer restrictions, and a more enthusiastic, and refined customer base.

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Re: Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby ragerunner1 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:32 am

Trackmaster wrote:With your interest in Urban development/planning and commercial amusement parks, I would be interested in what you think about Malcom Gladwell's ideas in his podcast "A Good Walk Spoiled" as a part of his Revisionist History series.

Basically, he's talking about golf courses, and not amusement parks, but I think that some of the commercial real estate tenants could apply here. Most amusement parks take up a lot of space around urban areas that could conceivably be used for other public access purposes, but profit off of the land. And, in many cases, the land could be more profitable for other purposes, but may be locked into a historic lower value of ad valorem tax purposes.

Personally, I'm a bigger fan of parks setting themselves up in more remote areas where a tourism scene can be built up around them, instead of trying to market to local markets. Lower property values, fewer restrictions, and a more enthusiastic, and refined customer base.


Instead of responding directly about "A Good Walk Spoiled" I will try and focus more on the concept of public and private space and how most modern US parks began. I really don't believe that a golf course and an amusement park are the same two apples for the conversation.

"Most amusement parks take up a lot of space around urban areas that could conceivably be used for other public access purposes, but profit off of the land."
I think the first issue here is defining location:

In the US most amusement parks were/are constructed on the edge of cities or metros. What has happened over the last 40 or 50 years is the metros have sprawled to surround those parks that were once built of private farmland. This is not always true, but probably covers 90 percent of the US park development. So most parks started their development in rural type spaces. Most of the exceptions are very historic parks like, Coney Island, Cedar Point, Kennywood, etc. These parks general developed during a time when mass transit was needed to connect customers with the park. I would also say that many of these "urban parks" did have a public space concept behind them. They were just not a place to ride a ride, but to swim, picnic and escape their compact urban living spaces. Many of them were free to enter.

The concept of profitting off of land is much stronger in the US than in most parts of the world. In the US the idea of private property rights trump the concept of public property rights (space). Not saying this is right or wrong, only say it is. So parks profit off their land.

"And, in many cases, the land could be more profitable for other purposes, but may be locked into a historic lower value of ad valorem tax purposes."
Once you realize many of the parks were built on agricultural land at the beginning this makes them significantly larger tax generators than the previous use of the land. I also think you need to not only look at their land tax value but the spin-off value of tourism taxable income and other supporting developments (hotels, restaurants, etc.)

"Personally, I'm a bigger fan of parks setting themselves up in more remote areas where a tourism scene can be built up around them, instead of trying to market to local markets. Lower property values, fewer restrictions, and a more enthusiastic, and refined customer base."

Most parks in the US started out this way, sprawl has just caught up to them.

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Re: Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby ragerunner1 » Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:12 am

Sticking with Magic Kingdom and lighting. Here is the rest of the park. The Magic Kingdom does a great job of using lighting to truly embrace its surroundings and strengthen its overall themes. Matter of fact, I think places like Tommorowland and parts of Fantasyland are at their best when the sun goes down.

Liberty Square - Lighting

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Fantasyland - Lighting

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Tomorrowland - Lighting

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To close out the Magic Kingdom lighting thread here is one of the Castle at Christmas.

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Up next Universal's Islands of Adventure.

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Re: Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby Canobie Coaster » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:11 pm

I love that last shot of the castle with it reflected in the water! Very cool topic and I'm loving the photos so far.
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Re: Art of Placemaking - Theme Parks

Postby Nrthwnd » Mon Mar 19, 2018 6:00 pm

Really beautiful photos, in what you've posted here. I really can't decide which ones are "the best" for myself.

But then, that's an awesome thing, to have to figure out. Or not. ;) Thanks for sharing them all!
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