Five Key Data Sources for Park Planning
Types of amenities, number or residents within a half-mile, most popular sports in a city or neighborhood, age of likely park users, and so on – these are some of the items of information that are useful, even critical, to planning parks. Los Angeles County compiled a Los Angeles Countywide Parks and Recreation Needs Assessment, which provides planners with detailed information about their parks and recreational facilities, according to Los Angeles County Planner Clement Lau. However, even with this detailed analysis, L.A. County park planners supplement it with other data sources, including the following:
- The Trust for Public Land publishes information on the park systems of the 100 most populous cities in the United States.
- The National Recreation and Park Association publishes Park Metrics, perhaps the most comprehensive source for parking planning tools (including online tools) to assist agencies in producing reports.
- Esri Demographics Data – Esri publishes reports providing invaluable information ranging from population and lifestyles to consumer spending and traffic counts.
American Community Survey is an annual survey conducted by the U.S. Census Beureau and is the premier source of detailed information in the United States about population, education, jobs, veterans, and housing. In L.A., the ACS is an important source of data for Quimby park planning.
The U.S. Census is of course well known and is conducted every ten years to assist the U.S. government in allocating funding for education, public health, transportation, and other programs.
By utilizing data from these various sources, cities and counties can provide park and recreational facilities that better serve their constituencies. For more detailed about these data sources, please see the source article.