A new report can help park developers and managers assess quality, park by park and systemwide, to make investments and address disparities in access to high quality parks.

1 minute read

July 8, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By Clement Lau


Chicago, Illinois

My_Ticklefeet / Shutterstock

What makes a park "high quality"? The Urban Land Institute (ULI) recently released a report to answer this question. Based on interviews with parks professionals and other experts from around the country, the report presents a framework for park quality that can help all park developers and managers assess quality, park by park and systemwide, to make investments and address longstanding disparities in access to high quality parks. 

To help define park quality, ULI hosted a two-day workshop in Nashville in April 2019 to get input from nearly 30 leaders in parks and recreation. Attendees identified cities that had successful programs or processes in place to evaluate the quality of their parks or park systems, and interviews were conducted with parks and recreation department staff in a number of these cities, along with other experts. 

Findings from the interviews were analyzed to create a framework of five key characteristics of quality. Specifically, high quality parks:

  1. Are in excellent physical condition.
  2. Are accessible to all potential users.
  3. Provide positive experiences for park users.
  4. Are relevant to the communities they serve.
  5. Are flexible and adaptable to changing circumstances.

For more information, please read the report.

Thursday, June 17, 2021 in Urban Land Institute

Aerial view of homes on green hillsides in Daly City, California.

Depopulation Patterns Get Weird

A recent ranking of “declining” cities heavily features some of the most expensive cities in the country — including New York City and a half-dozen in the San Francisco Bay Area.

April 10, 2024 - California Planning & Development Report

Close-up of maroon California 'Clean Air Vehicle' carpool lane access sticker on the back bumper of a silver Tesla vehicle.

California EV Owners To Lose Carpool Lane Privilege

A program that began in 1999 to encourage more electric car ownership is set to expire next year without Congressional and state action.

April 2, 2024 - San Francisco Chronicle

Aerial view of Oakland, California with bay in background

California Exodus: Population Drops Below 39 Million

Never mind the 40 million that demographers predicted the Golden State would reach by 2018. The state's population dipped below 39 million to 38.965 million last July, according to Census data released in March, the lowest since 2015.

April 11, 2024 - Los Angeles Times

Google street view of grassy lot next to brick church with elevated freeway on other side in Houston, Texas.

Houston Supportive Housing Development Sparks Debate

Critics say a proposed apartment building would negatively impact the neighborhood’s walkability.

April 12 - Houston Chronicle

Closed black wrought iron gate in front of gated residential community with large palm trees along sides of street.

Friday Funny: Gated Community Doubles Down

The Onion skewers suburbia.

April 12 - The Onion

Aerial view of Chicago with river in foreground.

‘Cut the Tape’ Report Takes Aim at Inefficiencies

A set of recommendations from the Chicago mayor’s office calls for streamlining city processes to stimulate more residential and commercial development.

April 12 - Block Club Chicago

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Call for Speakers

Mpact Transit + Community

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.