Schoolyards as a Solution for Park-Poor Cities

Opening schoolyards to the public could be 'game-changing' for communities lacking in green space.

September 12, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Playground

Andrew J. Cerniglia / Flickr

The Trust for Public Land's Community Schoolyards report highlights the potential for the country's public schoolyards to serve as public parks. The Trust "believes that transforming America’s schoolyards into shared public parks by 2030 is a common-sense, cost-effective solution to America’s park equity problem. Opening all public schoolyards during non-school hours would put a park within a 10-minute walk of nearly 20 million people—solving the problem of outdoor access for one-fifth of the nation’s 100 million people who don’t currently have a park close to home."

The report also outlines steps schools can take to make their schoolyards more inviting, healthy, and safe. These suggestions include "[s]wapping out blacktop for trees, gardens, and up-to-date play equipment," which "would deliver a raft of benefits to students, from emotional to academic."

According to analysis conducted by the Trust, "[i]n the 100 largest U.S. cities, neighborhoods where residents predominantly identify as people of color have access to an average of 44 percent less park acreage than predominantly white neighborhoods." Community Schoolyards seeks to reimagine the drab asphalt schoolyard as an inspiring, healthful environment for both students and the community at large. "Renovated schoolyards can also serve as vital green space for the entire community. Growing numbers of districts are allowing local residents to use their school grounds after school and on weekends, giving not only students but people of all ages new access to parkland."

Wednesday, August 25, 2021 in The Trust for Public Land

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