National Parks Now:
Designing the 21st Century National Park Experience
Van Alen Institute and the National Park Service (NPS) have launched National Parks Now, a competition inviting multidisciplinary teams of young professionals to develop strategies for reshaping the national parks visitor experience.
As the National Park Service prepares to celebrate its centennial in 2016, the competition highlights four parks in the Northeast Region as case studies for attracting diverse audiences, telling new stories, and engaging the next generation of visitors at a time of fast-evolving technologies, regional contexts, and audience expectations:
- Sagamore Hill National Historic Site (Oyster Bay, NY), the estate of President Theodore Roosevelt
- Steamtown National Historic Site (Scranton, PA), one of the world’s most important monuments to the steam locomotive
- Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (Paterson, NJ), a historic birthplace of American textile manufacturing
- Weir Farm National Historic Site (Ridgefield, CT), the summer estate of the artist Julian Alden Weir
Multidisciplinary teams will be selected from an international open Request for Qualifications process. Teams are strongly encouraged to include expertise in fields such as architecture and landscape architecture, graphic and interactive design, exhibition and film production, history, preservation, communications, and the social and environmental sciences. Team leads must be early career professionals with professional degrees obtained within the last ten years, and teams are encouraged to apply with an academic partner that could incorporate the challenges of the competition into studios, independent studies, or other education programs. The deadline for registration and electronic submission of the RFQ is 11:59 p.m. EDT on October 30, 2014 via the competition website.
Four teams—one for each park site—will be selected to receive a $15,000 stipend each to participate in a six-month, collaborative research and design process that explores the themes of region, engagement, narrative, and place. At the conclusion of this phase, one team will be selected to receive an additional $10,000 to create a prototype for one of their strategies, which will be implemented at their site in summer of 2015.
Glen Cummings, Partner, MTWTF
Fred Dust, Partner, IDEO
Mark Hansen, Director, Brown Institute for Media Innovation, Columbia University School of Journalism
David van der Leer, Executive Director, Van Alen Institute
Setha Low, Professor, Ph.D. programs in Anthropology, Geography, and Environmental Psychology, The Graduate Center, City University of New York
William Morrish, Dean, Parsons School of Constructed Environments
Kate Orff, Partner, SCAPE / Landscape Architecture
Hunter Tura, President and CEO, Bruce Mau Design
Linda Cook, Superintendent, Weir Farm National Historic Site
Shaun Eyring, Chief, Resource Planning and Compliance, Northeast Region, National Park Service
Barbara Pollarine, Chief, Interpretation, Education, and Partnership Development, Northeast Region, National Park Service
Please visit www.vanalen.org/
nationalparksnow for a complete RFQ, including details on the submission process.