Community engagement is the foundation to designing a successful vision plan – it is especially crucial when the community one is designing for has experienced a recent collective trauma.
The Marshall Fire was Colorado’s most destructive wildfire in history, burning more than 1,000 homes, leaving over 900 people displaced, burning 6,000+ acres of land, and killing two people, as it swept through multiple suburban communities north of Denver. Taking a trauma-informed design approach to public engagement is critical, especially when working with the Town of Superior on the Coyote Ridge Open Space Master Plan, a vision plan for over 300 acres of open space.
Superbloom joined the Town of Superior at Coalton Trailhead and attended the Town’s celebration of National Trails Day to begin the process of public engagement, and to inform the community of the potential for future happenings. National Trails Day is a celebration hosted by the National Park Service and American Hiking Society where folks around the nation get together to hike, promoting conservation, trail service, and enjoyment of the great outdoors. Trails are especially important to maintain and enhance, because they offer places for folks to activate their parasympathetic nervous system, which slows our breathing and heart rate down, lowers blood pressure, and promotes digestion. On the trails at Coyote Ridge, looking around at the rolling hills, the panoramic views, hearing the buzz of the wildlife, the wind swishing through the grasses, the crunch of the soil beneath you, you’re brought into the present moment and that’s where reflection, processing, and the practice of healing is restored.
Our goal of informing the public about the upcoming planning process was to listen to their initial thoughts on open space planning, and gauge the community’s feelings towards trail conservation, wildfire mitigation strategies, wildlife preservation, prairie dog translocation and more. Superbloom will be supplementing the Town of Superior’s Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails Master Plan, completed in 2021, a year before the Marshall Fire. Throughout the process, we aim to have open ears, in order to listen to the community’s needs and mindfully ease into the evolving future of the Coyote Ridge Open Space. Check into our blog periodically for more thoughts on trauma-informed design, and how we utilize it within our practice at Superbloom.