Co-Creating a Community Park

TypeLandscape, Park, Recreation Amenity, Masterplan
LocationRathfriland, Co. Down, Northern Ireland
ClientRathfriland & District Regeneration Company

Bolstering Rathfriland's regeneration ambition

Rathfriland Community Park is the cornerstone vision of the Rathfriland Regeneration community group's ambitious regeneration plans. At its core the community park is dedicated to improving the health and well-being of Rathfriland’s population through making the town a more attractive place to live, work and play. ACT have mapped this community park vision to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals demonstrating both its local and global direct and indirect impacts. The vision is currently being further developed by the community group. Once complete the Rathfriland Community Park will provide a 1km running/walking perimeter track for the town. 

Stepping stones to the future

Recognising the incremental nature of development and funding, the park design includes six phased implementation strategies to ensure continuous progress and adaptability. Each phase serves as a stepping stone, gradually transforming the vision into reality while maximizing community engagement and resource utilisation. These steps are designed to foster a healthier, more connected community, promoting physical activity, mental well-being and social cohesion.

A patchwork quilt of activities

The final community park is envisioned as a patchwork quilt of diverse activities and spaces that cater to all ages and interests. From sports facilities and playgrounds to serene gardens and walking trails, the park will offer a variety of amenities that encourage active lifestyles and community interaction. By providing these diverse opportunities the park aims to support the holistic health and well-being of Rathfriland’s residents fostering a sense of belonging and community pride.

Maximising co-benefits

Beyond its primary role as a recreational space Rathfriland Community Park is designed to deliver multiple co-benefits. These include environmental sustainability, economic revitalisation, and enhanced social cohesion. The park’s green spaces will contribute to local biodiversity, improve air quality, and mitigate urban heat island effects. Additionally, the park is expected to attract visitors and boost local businesses, creating economic opportunities and further enhancing the town's vibrancy.

Harnessing the topography

The steep topography of Rathfriland (from Irish Ráth Fraoileann, meaning "ringfort of Fraoile") has been harnessed to provide maximise its natural beauty and functionality including providing programme for an amphitheatre, scenic viewpoints, skatepark obstacles and accessible pathways.


Vision Development
  • James McConville
  • Kevin Loftus


  • Natasha A. Trice