Two University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa faculty were appointed to the City and County of Honolulu Board of Parks and Recreation, a volunteer board created to advise the Department of Parks and Recreation on recreational, cultural and public entertainment opportunities at city parks and facilities. Judith Stilgenbauer and Christy Nishita are among eight new appointees to the board.
Stilgenbauer, a professor of landscape architecture at UH Mānoa’s School of Architecture, has experience assisting the Trust for Public Land with renovations and planning for their philanthropic work at ʻAʻala Park.
“As the only landscape architect in the group, I hope to contribute to discussions and recommendations that go beyond the more traditional focus on cultural and recreational opportunities and beautification,” said Stilgenbauer. “I intend to stress the important role that parks and other types of public open spaces, such as tree-lined streetscapes and community gardens, play in adapting our urban environment to the effects of climate change.”
Stilgenbauer has a wide range of credits to her international work in the field of landscape architecture, including significant and award-winning professional and academic experience related to designing public parks.
“I believe that Mayor (Rick) Blangiardi’s appointment reflects on the role many UH faculty members play in applying our research expertise to serve the people and places of Hawaiʻi, particularly as it relates to creating more sustainable environments for the community,” said Stilgenbauer.
Nishita, the director at UH’s Center on Aging in the Thompson School of Social Work & Public Health, has an extensive background in long-term care coordination, caregiving, Alzheimer’s disease support programs, intergenerational programming and age-friendly community development.
“The outdoor spaces and programming offered by our Department of Parks and Recreation are wonderful opportunities to help our kupuna be active and engaged in our communities,” said Nishita. “As part of the board, I intend to create more age-friendly parks by developing more opportunities for our kūpuna to volunteer and engage in the park programs, creating more intergenerational programs, and ensuring park accessibility.”
In her leadership role for UH‘s Center on Aging, Nishita built a team to strengthen the quality of community-engaged, applied aging research in Hawaiʻi.
“This appointment is important because it builds bridges between UH and the larger community,” said Nishita. “It is an opportunity to provide research and subject matter expertise to the community but more importantly, it enables me to interact directly with kupuna and other community members to give them a voice and better understand their needs and priorities.”