Open Space, Public Spaces, and Viewsheds

Open space is one of Flagstaff’s most treasured and defining characteristics. It protects environmental quality and diversity, allows for wildlife corridors in our backyards, protects our watershed, our iconic view sheds, and our dark skies. The acquisition and protection of open space within Flagstaff city limits has been a continuous priority of F3. It may appear paradoxical that a town in the middle of a National Forest needs to protect open spaces, but the truth is evident. It is evident in the number of people using Buffalo Park and McMillan Mesa, the Flagstaff Urban Trail System, and neighborhood regional and pocket parks. It is evident in the greetings, smiles, views of the peaks, and experiencing nature all within a few steps or a short drive. Our open spaces help define Flagstaff as a uniquely wonderful place to live.

There is ample evidence that public spaces, also known as civic spaces, strengthen social networks and neighborhoods. Public spaces increase the health of residents and are an important factor in the socialization of young people. They prevent crime. They are important environments for democracy; they are the places we come together, in all our diversity, and exchange ideas, enjoy company, and build community. Viewsheds are important as visual exposure to mountains and green forests contribute to psychological, cognitive and physiological well being and leads to numerous social benefits, including reduced crime rates and increased perceived safety. As our city grows, Friends of Flagstaff’s Future is ever alert for opportunities and threats to the quality of our open spaces, public spaces, and viewsheds.

Important Links

City of Flagstaff Open Space Program

City of Flagstaff Open Spaces Commission

McMillan Mesa Open Space

Observatory Mesa Natural Area

Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve

June 19, 2010 Flagstaff City Council Report, Tiffany Antol, “Open Space, Civic Spaces, Viewsheds, and Buffers”

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