Urban parks are often complex places to manage due to their past land uses and their association with numerous stakeholders who hold an interest in the park. The North Carolina Museum of Art Park (NCMA Park) is no exception. The mission of the NCMA Park is to integrate art and ecology and to engage visitors through recreation, outdoor art, ecosystem management, partnership development, and education.
Due to the past agricultural history of the site, the landscape is degraded and required aggressive land management to provide an inspirational location for art installations. The multiple objective mission, as well as the location of the park, has involved numerous multidisciplinary stakeholders. This thesis presents a comprehensive management plan for the NCMA Park produced in coordination with NCMA staff and includes an update from the recreation plan developed by Dr. Roger Moore and Dena Justice. It provides basic information, partnership relationships, and recommendations for management. A detailed natural resource management section that includes site analysis and restoration prescriptions for 15 different management units is included. The management units were mapped in a geographical information system (GIS) and prioritized based on degree of exotic species invasion. Treatment and monitoring recommendations were made for each species of concern. This plan should provide a comprehensive guide to better manage the property and help ensure the long-term success of the park.
The co-management of the NCMA Park led to a common interest analysis of the stakeholders. The common interest analysis is used to analyze environmental policies related to large scale environmental issues. I conducted a common interest analysis on this small scale urban park to determine if the common interest was being served. I found that the common interest at this park was not fully served due to a lack of inclusiveness and transparency in the decision making process even though there was a clear vision, goals, and priorities of all participants. The problem with lack of participation in the decision making process came through not in the big picture scope of the park but in the smaller components. To assure the long term success of small scale urban parks, it is necessary for all participants to share a common interest and participate in both the planning and implementation phase of the park when the decisions affect them.