The Social Benefits Of Parks

Across the nation, neighbors are learning that banding together to create a new park can leave a community with a lot more than new swing sets and picnic tables.
May 4, 2005, 5am PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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One day Joe Martin got tired of looking at the overgrown vacant lot near his home in a decaying neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. The retired Union Pacific Railroad worker went down to Goodwill, bought an old lawn mower, and began pushing it through the tall weeds. Joe and his neighbors transformed their neighborhood by creating a park, and in this they are not alone.

"...Some of the strongest evidence for the social benefits of parks comes from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN), a $50 million-plus interdisciplinary study on the roots of crime, substance abuse, and violence. The study is focused on a concept related to social capital called "collective efficacy"—social cohesion and trust among neighbors combined with their willingness to intervene for the common good. Collective efficacy can be built through activities such as working together on community gardens and holding community festivals in neighborhood parks."

Thanks to Chris Steins

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Published on Tuesday, May 3, 2005 in The Trust for Public Land
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