Mobile Parks and Recreation Fill a Need

Several cities are using mobile park and recreation services to augment existing parks and fill gaps in parks. LA County parks planner Clement Lau describes a sampling of mobile programs.

May 28, 2019, 1:00 PM PDT

By wadams92101

Many neighborhoods are park-starved, which undermines the health of their residents and the development of their children. Focusing only on permanent land-based park space ignores current needs. Actual open space parks can take a decade or more to put into place. Clement Lau, a Los Angeles County planner writes about a nimble approach adopted by several cities. These cities provide park and recreation services to underserved neighborhoods and populations by going mobile. While not intended replace real parks, this approach can mitigate the absence of parks before the root problem is fixed. The cities implementing such an approach include New York; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Cape Coral, Florida; and Boise, Idaho.  The services are provided either as pop-up events, by mobile van, or scheduled programming. Services vary widely and can include hard goods like skateboard ramps, soccer goals, and basketball hoops, or soft goods like yoga classes, coaches, and volunteers to teach and play sports with children, and registration for camps. For example, writes Lau:

The City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks is planning to launch a mobile recreation program to bring a variety of outdoor activities to children and families in under-served communities.  Each mobile recreation vehicle will provide differently themed activities ranging from sports to drama and dance to STEM activities.  The program will commence on the weekends at four elementary schools in high park need areas.  

 For more detailed information on how cities are filling the gaps in parks, please see the source article. 

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