Prioritizing Park Equity in Planning and Policy

The APA blog issues a call to action to promote park equity.

1 minute read

June 28, 2016, 9:00 AM PDT

By Elana Eden

Bryant Park

Andrew F. Kazmierski / Shutterstock

Time and again research has shown the benefits of local public parks for health, wellbeing, and economic development. It’s also shown that too often, neighborhood parks are concentrated in white or affluent areas, leaving low-income and minority communities without adequate access (in Los Angeles, for example.)

On the blog of the American Planning Association, Kirsten Holland of Advocacy Associates writes that this represents a failure of both planning and policy. As such, "planners must work with policymakers" to close the gap.

One place to start is with Congress: Holland urges planners to ask legislators to continue funding the Outdoor Recreation Legacy Partnership (ORLP) program, a federal parks grant that prioritizes underserved communities.

Similar programs have already gone unfunded for several years. But anyone interested in creating spaces that improve quality of life for all communities should refuse to accept that, Holland writes: "Ensuring that communities have adequate access to public parks is a critical component of promoting social equity in the United States."

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