Site Development

What is Site Development?

The term Site Development, with respect to theme park design, is an all encompassing term specifically related to the site civil engineering – and all other applicable engineering design efforts – required to prepare a theme park project site. Site Development also incorporates the design of the deep utilities required to support a theme park project, utilities such as: domestic potable water mains, roadway and highway designs, storm water lines, gas main lines, main electrical feeds, low-voltage communication lines, reclaimed water lines, chilled water lines, (clean) park compressed air lines, etc.

Site Development design includes mass grading elevation determination and the various other activities to prepare a site for a new project such as: environmental impact studies, vehicular traffic studies, geotechnical engineering studies and borings, existing site condition surveys, etc.

  • Site Development in theme parks is specific to the group of Engineers scopes of work to ready the site for and provide the design of deep utilities of a theme park.
  • Site Development design is lead by themed park Civil Engineer but may include site Electrical, Mechanical, Plumbing, Structural, and Low-Voltage Engineers scopes of design work.
  • The Site Development design packages are a separate group of packages issued for a project to achieve their specific permits for construction.
  • Site Development design does not extend inside theme park facilities – typically their scopes of work extend to five feet outside the limits/foot print of theme park facilities and vertical structures.

Understanding Site Development

The Site Development design is an early design effort provided by the Architecture and Engineering team members working in tandem with the facility Architects and Engineers, Creative design team, and the other non-design team project stakeholders.

Site Development design efforts are usually started early in the overall theme park design phases since their design packages and deliverables address early site permits required before any site manipulation (clearing, grubbing, grading, etc.) can take place. Often these early site permits can take several months to a year for review and approval by the various governmental agencies that oversee these types of efforts and scopes of work.

✅ Learn more about Theme Park Landscape Architects!

The Site Development team often works in tandem, during the early design phases of a theme park, with the theme park Master Planners and Area Development (Landscape Architects) to provide design input in the overall, feel and theme of the entire theme park, theme park land, or themed project area.

Related Terms

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About the Author J. Daniel Jenkins, AIA, NCARB is a licensed Architect, Theme Park Design Consultant, and former Senior Project Design Manager at Walt Disney Imagineering with over twenty years of subject matter expertise and design team leadership experience. Jenkins is the creator of who's goal is to teach individuals about theme park architecture and design, how to become theme park architects and designers, and discuss themed entertainment industry related topics. For nearly a decade, Mr. Jenkins has worked in the themed entertainment industry on new themed entertainment attractions, theme park lands, and new theme parks. Upon leaving Walt Disney Imagineering, Jenkins started his own Design Management Consulting company where he has consulted with and provided subject matter expertise and project leadership for new, confidential projects for several themed entertainment companies. Mr. Jenkins holds a five-year Master of Architecture degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a Virtual Design and Construction Certificate from Stanford University.
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