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


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


What We Really Mean When We Say Gentrification

The focus on gentrifying communities has, in many cases, eclipsed the similar problems facing more stagnant neighborhoods.

September 14, 2021 - Vox

Brooklyn Redevelopment

Study: Market-Rate Development Filters Into Naturally Occurring Affordable Housing

New research sheds new light on one of the most hotly debated questions in planning and development.

September 15, 2021 - Full Stack Economics

Los Angeles, California

The End of Single-Family Zoning in California

Despite a few high-profile failures, the California State Legislature has approved a steady drumbeat of pro-development reforms that loosen zoning restrictions. The state raised the stakes on its zoning reforms this week.

September 19, 2021 - Office of Governor Gavin Newsom

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.

Hand Drawing Master Plans

This course aims to provide an introduction into Urban Design Sketching focused on how to hand draw master plans using a mix of colored markers.