Green space in park with bench


2020 Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources System Plan Update

Shaping the direction, development, and delivery of the City's Parks

The City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources System Plan is a long-range planning document that is meant to help shape the direction, development, and delivery of the City's Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources services over a 20-year period. The System Plan was adopted in 2014 and is planned to be updated approximately every 5 years to keep the document relevant to the current needs of City of Raleigh residents. 

Project Details




Thomas McCourt

Lead Department:
Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources



Project Summary

For more on the 2014 Parks System Plan process, see the project webpage and full plan document.

The primary goals of the System Plan Update are to:

  • Increase connectivity of Raleigh’s park system through a comprehensive update to the City's Greenway Master Plan
  • Promote equity by identifying criteria that will help ensure future investments in Raleigh Parks sites, facilities, and programs are more accessible to the communities that will benefit most from these public resources
  • Improve access to parks and greenways throughout the city by adopting a new level of service model that will promote Raleigh’s goal of providing every citizen with safe, convenient access to a park or greenway trail
  • Provide a progress report to share what has been accomplished since 2014, and make any updates necessary to align the department's goals with Raleigh’s Comprehensive Plan and Strategic Plan

Increasing Connectivity

As part of the System Plan Update process, we will be working closely with the community to update Raleigh’s Capital Area Greenway Master Plan. Updating these long-range planning documents simultaneously will help to create a more cohesive vision for the future evolution of Raleigh’s system of parks and greenways. 

Raleigh’s greenway network is one of the defining features of our city, providing a natural framework that organizes and connects much of the 10,000 acres of open space that makes up Raleigh’s park system. Greenway trails are popular destinations in their own right, but the greenway network also provides connectivity between parks, neighborhoods, schools, and other destinations; multimodal trails for pedestrians and bicyclists to use as part of a larger transportation network; and protected natural corridors that provide ecosystem services for improved air quality, water quality, and wildlife habitat. Raleigh’s greenways are an essential part of our park system.

To learn more about how you can get involved and participate in the Greenway Master Plan Update, please visit

Promoting Equity

One of the guiding principles established by the 2014 System Plan was to ensure an equitable distribution of park resources throughout the City of Raleigh. Future investments in Raleigh’s parks, greenways, recreation facilities and cultural resources should be prioritized based on a number of factors, including equity.

View the Parks System Plan Equity Info Sheet.

Improving Access

Parks are essential to the physical, social, environmental, and economic health of a community—and cities nationwide. That’s why the National Recreation and Park Association, The Trust for Public Land, and the Urban Land Institute are leading a nationwide movement to ensure there’s a great park within a 10-minute walk of every person, in every neighborhood, in every city across America. Over 220 Mayors and counting have come together to support the 10 Minute Walk campaign and are increasing equitable park access and quality through local policy changes, master planning efforts, and increased funding.

The City of Raleigh has joined the 10 Minute Walk Campaign and was selected as a recipient of a 2019 technical assistance grant to help further work on the System Plan Update. That technical assistance grant supported the development of a new Park Access Level of Service Model.

Mayors Are On Board: 10-Minute Walk to a Park

In partnership with the NRPA and other partners on the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, the City of Raleigh has developed a new Park Access Level of Service model that will help guide future park and greenway planning decisions.

See the Parks System Plan Access Info Sheet.

For an interactive version of this map, please visit this website.

Progress Report

As part of this update, we will provide a report summarizing which action items from the 2014 System Plan have been completed, how many action items are currently in progress, and recommendations for updating goals and objectives to better align with other citywide plans, policies, and initiatives that have been developed since 2014.

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