Des Moines Parks and Recreation Comprehensive Plan Wins Awards

Des Moines Parks and Recreation is excited to announce LiveDSM, our comprehensive plan, is the winner of the Advancing Diversity and Social Change Award Award from the Iowa Chapter of the American Planning Association and the Honor Award (Planning and Analysis category) from the Iowa Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects.

Live DSM, completed in 2018 with our consultant RDG, provides Des Moines Parks and Recreation with our first long-range plan in over twenty years to inspire the next transformative elements of the parks and open space system. Parks and trails play a very special role in people’s lives, and because of this, our team strives for racial and social equity in providing park and trail facilities and programming across the community.

“We will realize the vision of LiveDSM through the park and recreation plans, partnerships and policy directions as outlined in this plan. The work ahead, though wide-ranging, is unified by the vision of transforming lives for the better and the intent to build and sustain a world-class parks and recreation system,” said Benjamin R Page, Director of Parks and recreation. “Implementing LiveDSM will lead to a system shaped by attention to equity, health, nature and social connections. This focus will deliver fair use of resources, high-quality parks and trails, neighborhood enrichment, better urban design and more engaging programs, while also activating waterways, improving natural areas and making places people want to visit. These are quality-of-living outcomes.”

LiveDSM places equity at the forefront of the guiding principles as critical to healthy communities. One of the primary goals established in the plan is to provide equally accessible programs and facilities to all people regardless of income level, ethnicity, gender, ability or age. The process for LiveDSM began by acknowledging that equity as a buzz word usually implied to mean kind, understanding, and fair. However, equity is beyond that where we have created a system of unfairness resulting in individuals not living well, being so far behind and continuing to be behind, that is the inequity.

Benjamin R. Page, Director
Des Moines Parks and Recreation

About Des Moines Parks and Recreation 
Founded in 1892, the Parks and Recreation Department’s mission is “Helping Des Moines Live Well, Play Hard and Protect the Earth.”  Our department is responsible for the management of 76 parks, over 4,000 acres of parkland, 67 miles of trails, 7 cemeteries and numerous municipal facilities.  In addition, we offer numerous programs in the areas of sports, urban conservation, environment education, sport instruction, volunteerism, rentals and special events.  For more information on Des Moines Parks and Recreation programs or facilities, visit our website (, Facebook (, Twitter (@desmoinesparks) or Instagram (@desmoinesparks).