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Meet a Member of Our Land Planning & Recreation Team

Celebrating National Park and Recreation Month

Carrie Cranwill, PLA, EI, has been with McGill since 2014 and adds 27 years of experience, bringing a unique blend of landscape architectural and civil engineering skills to McGill’s Land Planning and Recreation Team. She has performed a variety of tasks associated with parks and recreation, educational facilities, medical facilities, industrial sites, and site development associated with business parks, commercial centers, and residential neighborhoods.

We sat down with Carrie to learn more about her background and passion for the profession.

What attracted you to Land Planning and Recreation?

Having a career that combines both the artistic and technical sides of design into a final product, such as a park or streetscape, was what attracted me to the profession. I did not want a job that was going to be repetitive; thankfully, every design project has its own unique set of requirements and challenges. Creating spaces that people can experience and enjoy is motivational and rewarding.

What do you enjoy most about working with your team? 

McGill’s Land Planning and Recreation team is diverse in experience. This diversity brings unique perspectives to the table on every project. Having the opportunity to interact as a team, with everyone contributing to come up with a cumulative design, is what I enjoy most about working at McGill.

Tell us what energizes you on a project.

A few of my favorite examples are tied to smaller localities. Our projects – whether they include streetscapes, greenways, or parks – are making positive impacts on communities. For example, the West Jefferson Streetscape greatly improved the economic vitality of its downtown. Our park projects are providing public places and opportunities for people to interact. In the world today, with everyone tied to their digital devices, people need spaces to connect with each other in person in low-stress environments. This is what builds social interaction and co-mingling, which is critical in today’s society.

Do you have any advice for those wanting to enter the profession?

My advice would be to broaden your range of skills and continue to educate yourself through professional development opportunities throughout your career. When I first graduated, companies were still drafting by hand, then everything went digital. You need to continue to add to your skills and stay current with the latest innovations in the industry. I do this by taking advantage of online educational opportunities and by reading professional journals.

What do you see impacting park design in the future?  

Many individuals today are having to take care of their family unit – from young children to aging parents – and this trend will continue to grow. There is a growing need for inclusive design of multi-generational play areas – a “one-stop shop” for recreation. It is a positive experience for the entire family when you can go to a park that caters to all generations, from the young to the elderly. We are so focused on playgrounds for younger children that we tend to overlook the needs of our aging population. It is important that we get our elderly neighbors out of their homes and moving to keep them healthy. Recreational opportunities and exercise have a positive impact on the mental and physical health issues that we are faced with as a nation.

If you had one more hour in your day, what would you do with your time? 

Photography is a hobby of mine – nature photography. I have hundreds of photos that I need to process and share with others.