Planning for Shared Use

This section includes things to consider and activities to complete BEFORE GETTING STARTED on a shared use initiative and includes resources on liability, interactive checklists and helpful tools to help envision the possibilities of what can be accomplished with a shared use space.

1. Shared Use 101 

Shared use is a smart solution that leverages existing facilities, properties and resources and engages community partners to open spaces up for the benefit of an entire community. The need for this type of work is high. For example, Phoenix ranked 96th out of 100 large U.S. cities for parks/10,000 residents. Schools and other organizations can step up and work together to create safe, affordable recreation and gathering spaces in neighborhoods that need them.

2. Who are You?

While people often think that schools are the sole initiators of shared use projects, many different organizations and institutions can commit to opening their facilities or offering services for the community in shared spaces. The resources which follow are tailored to both our “traditional” and “less traditional” shared use champions. 

3. Getting to Know Your Community

A best practice for shared use projects is involving key community members at every stage of the process. Projects that directly address needs specific to your community and draw on the strengths found within your community are most impactful. Think, for instance, who are the leaders in the community that can help spread awareness? Who are the early adopters that will step up to volunteer?

4. Enlist Your Partners

Shared use at its heart is a practice grounded in partnerships. Think about what other organizations you might collaborate with to best reach your shared use vision. Partners might be organizations geographically close to you, those who have previously worked with you, someone with a resource that you need, an agency with a similar mission who serves the same populations as you, or someone you haven’t even met yet. Feel free to reach out to us at MCDPH so that we can connect you with organizations in your community that are interested in supporting shared use initiatives.

5. Create a Vision

Whether your vision of a healthy community includes more people being physically active, more land to grow fresh produce on, inter-generational spaces for people to gather and talk to one another, shared use spaces can help achieve that. Creating an aspirational vision with your partners on what the vision is for your project is an important step of the planning phase.

6. Understand Liability

Many schools and organizations wonder, “what happens if someone gets hurt at our shared use site?” In most cases, as long as you are not grossly negligent in your actions, Arizona statute limits your liability.
  • Shared Use Liability

7. Plan of Action 

More on creating a plan of action coming soon.