In my experience, rarely do two dog-owners pass each other without acknowledgment. The unspoken kinship that’s formed in dog parks is one of a kind.
MH communities and RV parks, in particular, contain a world in themselves. The inhabitants of such communities share similar socioeconomic situations and troubles that not only bind them together but also imbibe them with a sense of solidarity.
However, the inclusion of dog parks within the premises is a topic that continues to raise doubts and is up for debate.
In this article, I address the issue of dog parks as a necessary amenity in manufactured housing communities and outline reasons for the same. One thing’s for sure, dogs change social dynamics for the better.
Dog-owners usually become morning-walk buddies. If that sounds familiar, then I’ve already proved my point. For a community to grow and prosper, quality interaction is key and that can only happen once mutual trust has been established. This trust is not the easiest to build. After all, human tolerance is a fragile thing, and until we aren’t convinced that the other person means no harm, there’s no reason we’d trust them. While walking our dogs, a simple ‘good morning’ can change us from anonymous neighbors to a friendly member of the community—a stepping stone in the right direction. Not only does this go a long way in building relationships, but it also paves the path for accountability.
Some might say that a park dedicated specifically to dog-owners is unnecessary where a general park can fulfill the same purpose. However, as an expert in urban design, I can assure you that it is far from the truth.
Walking your dog in the neighborhood park is all very good but it cannot compare to what a dog park has to offer. In the latter, it is the dog that determines the frequency and level of interaction you can have with the other person. Being among dog-owners from the same community also provides ample common ground for people to get talking and, by extension, get to know the community as a whole.
Animals’ antics act as icebreakers, just as babies’ do. In contained societies such as recreational vehicle parks, shared interests can go a long way in forming spontaneous, long-lasting relationships that nurture the growth of the entire community. Simply put, dog parks make engagement quick, easy and convenient. Not to mention, a whole new level of being relaxed.
Dog parks in an RV park makes for an amenity that combines relaxation with ample utility. As the number of off-leash areas varies, most cities and especially manufactured housing communities face a shortage of dog parks. General parks are beautiful spaces to spend time in, but it is in dog parks that interaction takes place, and interactions sustain communities.
For a community of a specific demographic such as recreational vehicle parks, collective action is of critical importance. In essence, one must take care of another. If such co-dependent links are to be established, then a space to gather and discuss is also crucial. And dog parks provide exactly that.
I’ve discussed the interactive benefits of dog parks in manufactured housing communities. However, there is another purpose that they serve, and for many, it takes precedence over integration and interaction. By this, I mean safety.
In addition to building and sustaining communal affinity, dog parks can significantly increase the watchfulness of the community as a whole. The formula is simple: a higher number of dog-walkers automatically means more eyes out in the public. Unnatural or suspicious activities and objects are far more likely to be noticed and dealt with when there are more members of the community out and about.
Be it early mornings or late nights, winter or summer, dog-owners throng these parks, thus turning them into hubs of constant occupation. Few spaces see this level of activity from such a diverse demographic. This, in turn, enhances the perceived security of the community, thereby keeping it safe and under careful watch.
In my experience, financial constraints have acted as the primary barriers against setting up dog parks in recreational vehicle resorts and properties. This is quite an absurd notion as, after all, these are no different from a general park except they’re specifically for dog-owners.
But in no way does it imply that a dog park needs extra and costlier installations or amenities. In fact, they are very low on maintenance and require few facilities apart from a path to walk on. As far as public property is concerned, dog parks are the perfect example of investments that pay back double. Unlike general parks, these spaces have no need for perfectly mowed and weeded grass, manicured shrubs, or fancy fencing. Even children’s parks require more elaborate and expensive planning. All our canines need, on the other hand, is space to run in.
There isn’t a foolproof method of incorporating dog parks in manufactured housing communities, specifically recreational vehicle parks and resorts. Societies are made up of individuals and it is only through collective brainstorming that such amenities can be installed. Along with that, it is vital that all members trust one another and build such spaces with the best interests of the community at heart.
Also, spontaneous interaction, safety, and a peaceful environment contribute greatly to the growth of any community. To this end, green spaces designated specifically for dog-owners can go a long way in bolstering the social health of recreational vehicle parks and resorts.
The claim I’m making is not that dog parks are the prime determiners of a community’s progress. But they are certainly necessary for forming relations that last, especially in socioeconomically disadvantaged spaces where it is unfortunately common for members to feel alienated and at risk.
The need of the hour, therefore, is a designated space for our canines to play in.