A New Approach to Park Equity

A new approach prioritizes investments in the capacity of people closest to the problem to achieve population-level impacts.

July 6, 2021, 10:00 AM PDT

By clementkhlau @clemusc


Los Angeles, California

Michael Rosebrock / Shutterstock

Parks and other green spaces are crucial for the health and well-being of communities, a fact that has been made even clearer during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, not all residents have equal access to these vital resources and key community infrastructure. Addressing these inequities requires advocates’ utmost attention, urgency, and action. A new approach to achieving park equity can result in transformation and improve the quality of life for residents in underserved communities.
 
Across the United States, a growing number of jurisdictions are adopting park and green space equity policies. Examples include public finance measures that have an equity focus, park agency organizational changes, documentation of park needs and inequities, joint use policies for school facilities, land use policies that facilitate access to green space, policies and ordinances requiring community engagement for park development, and anti-displacement provisions within green space equity initiatives. But in many low-income communities of color, longstanding inequities remain. A growing movement of park equity advocates, including community-based organizations and community members exercising their own power, is working to change that.
 
In the new paper, "Changing the Landscape: People, Parks, and Power," the Prevention Institute and Dr. Alessandro Rigolon of the University of Utah offer a new approach to park and green space equity that prioritizes investing in the capacity of people closest to the problem so that they can drive policy and systems changes to achieve population-level impacts.

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