Connection with nature through outdoor exercise is a passion for many people. But when you think about it, “the outdoors” is a very large and undefined space. As landscape architects and planners, part of our job is to help provide context for this vast space and to help define the user experience for those who seek to enjoy it. Whether that connection comes through active uses such as hiking, camping, running, walking, or playing sports – or more passive activities like seating nodes and grill areas – RVi helps set the scene so people understand the intended use of the space and can enjoy it to its fullest potential.
If you are a runner, for example, you likely have some favorite paths or trails. Have you ever thought about why you favor those paths over others? As a runner myself, I always prefer a route that has some twists and turns rather than a straightaway, because it helps me immerse myself in the moment and not focus on how far I have yet to run. Landscape architects think at this level of detail when designing that trail or path. This might mean curving the path to preserve a grove of trees or winding the trail off to the side to reveal a particularly scenic vista. We strive to provide spaces for people to engage with nature and have the best outdoor experience possible. We design trail systems that connect neighborhoods to parks, open lawn areas for families and friends to gather and throw a football or toss around a frisbee, and passive areas to allow users a multitude of potential activities. Our priority as designers is to create spaces that not only function and perform, but also provide an outstanding user experience along the way.
The world around us has changed drastically over the last 6 months. During the pandemic, more people have utilized outdoor spaces to maintain their physical fitness because these spaces are inherently safer than indoor environments. At RVi, we are thinking of how we can bring more of these traditionally indoor functions outside. For example, incorporation of outdoor exercise stations along trails and flexible outdoor areas that can accommodate socially distanced group classes can begin to meet the needs of former gym-goers and formerly indoor fitness groups.
RVi strives to be a leader in engaging users with nature and we seek to “Open the Outdoors” for all to enjoy. With landscape architects and planners under one roof and a collaborative mindset, we pride ourselves in integrating thoughtful outdoor spaces throughout our design process.