This article from LA Weekly looks at L.A.'s parks deficit and what some are trying to do to address it.
"Not all spaces are created equal."
"That's especially true in Los Angeles, where, when it comes to public space, the Maguire Gardens are the exception rather than the rule. The most park-impoverished major city in America, Los Angeles devotes only 4 percent of its land to public greenery. By contrast, parkland comprises 17 percent of New York City and 9 percent of Boston (where 97 percent of the city's children have immediate access to a park - as opposed to one-third of kids in Los Angeles). Even in San Diego, often dismissed as L.A.'s cultureless, beer-buzzed little brother, parks make up 16 percent of the landscape."
"Of the parks L.A. does have, many are caught in varying states of detritus. The jewel of our system, Griffith Park, is less park than wilderness area, and subject to the wildfires that devastated it last year. Elysian Park is beautiful but isolated and underused. And not only have Echo Park's famous paddleboats been sporadically removed from service due to budgetary woes, but Echo Park Lake has become so foul that the park's stunning lotus flowers have all but disappeared."