Creating More Green Schoolyards in Los Angeles

Led by the Trust for Public Land, the “28×28” Initiative seeks to green 28 schools in Los Angeles by the 2028 Olympics.

2 minute read

February 27, 2024, 11:00 AM PST

By Clement Lau

Overhead view of young children looking at plants growing in raised planter box.

The Trust for Public Land / Planter box at elementary school.

Trust For Public Land (TPL), in partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, recently unveiled a new green schoolyard at Castellanos Elementary School in the Pico-Union neighborhood.  Once covered with asphalt with little shade canopy, the campus now has 26 new native trees, more than 500 native shrubs as well as a new play structure and shaded outdoor classroom thanks to support from California Natural Resources Agency’s Urban Greening Grant Program.

As part of the "28x28" initiative, this is the first of 28 projects to transform asphalt playgrounds into vibrant, nature-filled green spaces by the 2028 Summer Olympics. According to TPL, over 1.5 million people in Los Angeles, which includes more than a third of the city’s children, people of color, and low-income residents, do not live within a 10-minute walk to a park. In a city where there is limited vacant land, transforming schoolyards into green spaces for communities advances park and health equity so that everyone has a great place to get outside close to home. Research has shown that green schoolyards improve both the physical and mental health of children, while also boosting their academic performance. 

In addition to the green schoolyard at Castellanos Elementary, TPL is working with Community CoalitionActive San Gabriel Valley, and Promesa Boyle Heights to complete the 28×28 initiative as a part of the Governor’s Extreme Heat Action Plan and continues to work on green schoolyard projects across the U.S.

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