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Disparities in Park Quality and Pedestrian Streetscape Environments
Jessa Engelberg & Christy Thornton, University of California, San Diego
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Two studies shed light on how to make neighborhoods more physical activity‐friendly for all people, regardless of income or race.
Key Findings and Recommendations:
- Park and streetscape features are changeable and offer a feasible and affordable approach to creating activity‐friendly environments.
- Both studies found evidence of “disparities” (pedestrian features that were worse in low‐income and/or high‐minority neighborhoods) and “equitable differences” (pedestrian features that were worse in high‐income and/or mostly White neighborhoods).
- The park and streetscape features that exhibited disparities varied greatly between regions.
- The different patterns found across regions suggest that local policies, practices, and funding priorities can be effective. Disparities in physical activity environments are not inevitable. They are due to local decision‐making.
- Given the differences found between regions, local audits are recommended to evaluate differences between neighborhoods and determine how to best allocate resources.
- Information from audits can help local policy makers, planners, and community groups to identify disparities, make targeted changes, and increase physical activity opportunities for all residents, regardless of race, ethnicity, or income.
- Community groups are encouraged to work with government agencies to document quality of physical activity environments in their neighborhoods and use local data to develop plans for improvement.
Free access to the articles:
Engelberg, JK & Thornton, C. (2016). Disparities in Park Quality and Pedestrian Streetscape Environments. Research Brief. San Diego, CA: University of California, San Diego, Active Living Research.
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