Parks as a Weapon Against Climate Change

The 2022 ParkScore finds that cities are increasingly employing green space as a tool for mitigating heat and extreme weather effects, but the distribution of parks remains inequitable.

1 minute read

May 16, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Rittenhouse Square, a park in Philadelphia, framed by large buildings.

Jon Bilous / Shutterstock

A blog post from the Trust for Public Land outlines the importance of urban parks in slowing and mitigating the effects of climate change. “Many American cities have committed to slashing carbon emissions. Increasingly, they are also trying to make themselves more resilient, adapting streetscapes and green spaces to counter the worst effects of extreme heat and violent storms.” The blog calls parks a vital component of this effort. “Green space has the power to lower air temperature and absorb floodwater and can be designed in a way that enhances those benefits. That’s especially important for disadvantaged communities, whose vulnerable populations are most at risk as the Earth warms.” 

The blog highlights key findings of their 2022 ParkScore® index, including that “Eighty-five percent of cities are adapting parks and recreation facilities to address climate change” and “Seventy-seven percent are enlisting parks to counter urban heat.”

The analysis also uncovered inequities in park distribution. “Our analysis found that the neighborhoods where most residents identify as people of color have access to an average of 43 percent less park acreage than mostly white neighborhoods.”

The blog concludes that more investment is needed to combat climate change and protect the most vulnerable communities. “Congress, state governments, and city councils all must redouble efforts to finance green infrastructure in order to protect communities—especially those that need parks most.”

Tuesday, May 3, 2022 in Trust for Public Land

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Ice fishing tents surrounded by fence in Safe Outdoor Space for unhoused people in parking lot in Denver, Colorado.

An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans

Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.

5 hours ago - High Country News

An electric bicycle is shown with the legs of a human who is riding the e-bike.

Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16

State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.

6 hours ago - Oregon Capital Chronical

Aerial view of canal cut into beach in Charlestow, Rhode Island with boats parked in sand.

Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year

Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.

7 hours ago - University of Rhode Island

Senior Planner

Heyer Gruel Associates

Regional Transportation Planner

Crater Planning District Commission

Senior Planner- Long range

Prince William County Planning Office

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.